There’s nothing you can do about it.”
The other day I found myself thinking about things I wrote during my last significant period of creativity, pieces written when I was certain that I would be a writer and when I did not doubt that I had something to say. The stories are neatly packaged narratives, written with the simple belief in the clean orderliness of the world. Right is right, wrong is wrong. I wrote them when I knew everything.
Now, 10 years later, it seems I know so very little. When I left my small high school of teenage horrors and went to college, I stopped writing stories. I wrote some poetry, dark and dismal stuff. I wrote personal essays, and I wrote a lot of term papers. I learned I didn’t know everything, that I could never hope to know that much. I learned that the world was bigger than I ever imagined and full of more ideas than I would ever understand. I learned to doubt that I had much to say, that I would ever be a writer.
Despite this, I am writing. I am filling journal pages with the stray bits I find in my mind: to-do lists, movie critiques, self evaluations, and pop psychology. This collection of random thoughts has 16 entries in it now. And it is because I am thinking of tackling new, different, bigger writing projects that I find myself reminiscing about the things I wrote before. I remember it was easier before popular “reality” got in my way.
For it is reality which tells me that I must accept that I am small and the world is big, that my thoughts are insignificant droplets in the sea of humanity’s accumulated ideas. And because I have never been very good at pushing the limits, my tendency is to accept them and retire quietly to my corner. I never had a rebellious stage. I was a diligent and ideal student. I continue to be a conservative dresser. I have no piercings, no tattoos, and only occasionally color my hair a subtle burgundy.
Still, I am a person in love with language, and I find I’m happiest arranging my words on a page. So, despite my excruciating awareness of my ignorance and insignificance, I will write something. I will find a story to tell. I must teach myself to ignore reality, to step outside the dictated lines, to believe mine is a unique and worthwhile voice, to know I have something to say.
Perhaps I shall start by coloring my hair aubergine…