Every so often you’re given a deadline. A deadline is an expectation and a compliment.
It tells me that someone believes that I’m capable of producing something (worthwhile) in a set period of time. A deadline gives me a wonderful sense of validation and an irrational fear of insignificance. It prompts a massive chain of procrastinating events, which in turn, lead to a downward spiral of self-loathing and soul-searching. However, today I did some physical searching, A LOT of rifling through papers, looking for one in particular amidst my many, many piles. Thankfully, I found what I was looking for, and so much more.
In the past 4 hours I’ve read almost everything I’ve ever written and I have come to a conclusion. I can write. I may not always know what I’m doing, or where I’m headed, but I know that I have a lot to say. Quite often I’ve written it down AND actually, some of it isn’t half bad. YES! I don’t know how it “sounds” to disclose having a semi-existential crisis online, but we all have them, especially us creative types. The point is that sometimes it takes a “wasted day” to discover your own talent and to believe in it. Sometimes sunshine isn’t enough and it takes tearing up your childhood bedroom to find one, single piece of paper to realise all the other stacks of paper were worth your time and energy. Sometimes your own self-belief is all you have and you have to physically search for it.
During one of my education classes at NYU I was introduced to A Manifesto by Terry Tempest Williams. Collectively my class wrote a manifesto to why we teach. I later reproduced my own manifesto to why I write. Rereading it almost five years later I smiled at my younger self and her ambition. I chuckled and patted myself on the back.
Now I’m posting it on here and then I’m off to do some warm up exercises and finish my play. Alright, I probably won’t finish it tonight, but I’m going to go and give it my all.
So believe in your procrastination, sometimes it leads you into the dark past, but there’s always new things to be discovered.
Why I write-
I write, not because it was the only thing I was told I was good at, but because it’s the one thing my soul believes I should be good at. I write because I have a vision of an old woman in a reclining chair taking a moment to reflect over her accomplishments. I write because I want that woman to be me, surrounded by leather-bound books and scraps of manuscripts from which drip words, sounds, smells and experiences that need to be shared. I write because sometimes I feel that reading will be the only way I can comprehend what it means to be human. I write to inform others about humanity, to translate all the injustices into a poetic construction of language that the world can begin to use as motivation towards change. I write to motivate myself to change. I write to educate. I write because one day I will expire. I write because I am such a terrible communicator that I fear some people will never come to know me in my simplest, most uninhibited form. I write in response to all the things that move me; from winter’s first snowfall to the unbounded joy brought by getting to know you. I write for you. And all the “yous” that came before, each one of them perfectly individual, even if not so everlasting in flesh. I write to say, “Look what I did sucker! You thought I would amount to nothing, but I did.” I write to recall every heartbreak, near miss, uncomfortable situation and chance encounter, to remember, to relive you. You complete my memories. I write because I know I will never be complete and that to be complete would mean I were dead, that my story had finally come to an end. I write to keep myself alive, if only in my own head. I write because I have an insatiable desire to create beauty, to devise images, metaphors, colloquialisms. I must, I must encase my senses in all that is illuminated and powerful, or else fear the darkness in our society. I write because it makes me smile to hear myself read back the words loud and strong in my empty apartment knowing that my secrets are safely sandwiched between these walls until I choose to release them. I write because language has rhythm and energy and as sentences cascade and undulate onto a page, I am forced to dance passionately. I write because amongst my chaos the tapping of fingers on a keyboard is constant and predictable. It is a way to soothe my own savage beast, the one that lurks, prowls and pounces in time with my vulnerability. I write because I know I have to earn the privilege of calling myself a writer. I write to receive rejection letters, holding my breath until one day; one will morph into something positive.
I write because it’s been too long since I last did.