In my wildest dreams, I would compose sumptuous music that danced across the air and made bumps across your skin. Smearing paint onto canvas, I would use breathtaking blues and textured musings to tell you something about the world in some random art gallery. Or handling a camera, I would give you 1,000 words in a single breath of an image.
But I don’t. I write.
Today is the National Day on Writing. You never heard of it. I had never heard of it. But my fingers went straight to the keys. It couldn’t be helped. It can never be helped, whether my heart is sunk in depression and my hair is tangled in mats, or it’s one o’clock in the morning and the muse has woke me up. The words have to get on paper, they just have to, otherwise my brain might forget and my heart might explode.
My imagination is turned on by the strangest things: Leaves flying in the cold fall air, smells that dance across my path, an image that comes across my computer. It triggers something in my mind that is intangible, yet has to be grasped onto as fast as I can. I have to write. I have to write.
When I hold a pen, if I’m between words it’s like I’m holding onto a cigarette, occasionally biting the end. It’s in this mode that I often feel sexiest, so in control and strong. When a computer keyboard is in front of me, my fingers will fly like a great pianist, playing his favorite Tchaikovsky piano concerto that fill the room with melody. Every word fills each corner with a different emotion, and I am a slave to them. Yet I love being dominated when the muse takes me. And I write, the words flooding out of me, my body singing with every stroke of the keys.
In creation of every art piece, I defy the doctors who said I as a child I would never learn language. Each page is a shove in the face of every boss who told me I would never be good enough. Every letter is like a knife against the memories of the teachers who asked why couldn’t I be more like someone else, anyone else. Someone who was quieter, someone who didn’t have to be so up front, so stubborn, so not fitting into the conventional box that I was supposed to go into. Because I could never be the same as the rest of them. It’s not going to happen. It never will.
My rebellion left me as the weirdo in the back of the class with a notebook, scribbling poetry, the one who shut the door for five hours and wove tales, who spent lunch hour after lunch hour huddled in a corner with my laptop, working on some project that tickled my fancy at that moment. Couldn’t stop, would never stop.
My files are filled with various dreams and half-written morsels, places where I should have continued writing but lost the inspiration halfway through. Descriptions of beautiful places, various projects, scribbled words and half-baked ideas are stuffed in the pantries of space and time. Waiting for the light bulbs that set off ideas to come back, and sometimes they do. Many times, they don’t.
The door is often shut. I’m very private about how the magic happens, like a chef making your favorite meal. When he used to watch me, he’d laugh and poke fun about how my tongue would stick out unconsciously while my fingers began to fly. I stopped. He then would point out every little mistake that he though in his eyes laid on the page. He didn’t like me writing. My words suffered. My heart suffered, felt imprisoned by the person who was so desperate to change everything. I don’t like people seeing me write anymore. It’s too hard, too embarrassing.
I have been labeled the writer, loving and hating the title all at one. I am also the dreamer, the fixer, the anxiety-ridden hermit, the endless shape shifter who seems to be brimming with hope yet having desperation become my constant companion. It seems to be the lot of anyone creative to have your angel muse and your devil doubt creeping up behind you.
The dark days have surrounded me and taunted me, holding me hostage with a knife to my throat. I fear to move, as the blade might slip. I am trapped behind walls of circumstance and other peoples’ words, hoping to get out and find my own, but scared that everything else is crashing around the creativity that’s deep within me. The foundations of this building are rickety, illness and decay knocking at my door. It’s falling apart so fast, and all I can pray is that my salvation will come soon.
I see him in my mind trying to pull me out of my sorrow several weeks ago, begging me, questioning me as to the last time I wrote. I couldn’t remember, so trapped in a world where I was barely surviving from one day to the next. He begged me to write. Called it my heart song, when in truth they were the lyrics and he was the music that I was humming along to in my mind. For him and him alone, I composed some of my most glorious words, opened everything inside of me. Hoping it would open him up too, and for a while, it did. For a blink of an eye, there was something glimmering in the night to guide me.
But he’s gone now, his heart silent to me. Only my words are left, acting both as my sorrowful tears and comforting arms. I’m stuck alone on a life raft in an ocean that has been trying desperately for years to drown me. Yet I have never let it. Thousands of other broken souls and romantics have fallen under the waves and made the bottom of the sea their graves. How do I stay afloat?
I look down and my life raft is made of words, my words. Thousands and thousands of them, woven together to create ropes and knots to remain sturdy in the storm. They are my defiance. I yell out into the air triumphantly yet fearfully, terrified of the waves that G-d might inflict and yet standing up and telling him that he will have to kill me to silence me. And even then, my words are my testament, still my heart song. You can’t stop this type of music, even in death. And I know I’d rather die free on the ocean than trapped in a cage.
Why do I write? It’s because sometimes the heart is too strong for the body to take the highly concentrated id that is the artistic spirit. It’s the release, the sexual deviancy and the hopeless romantic making love and producing something that is pure imagination, taking form in various little scribbles and stream of consciousness words.
Glorious, glorious words, how they dance and fade, yet never truly leave you, forming into various pictures in the hopes that somewhere along the line they will tell a new story. They tell tales of redemption from the depravity of the modern world as well as what’s within the heart, banging on the doors waiting to be released and shared with the world. They sculpt the buildings that we form to connect with each other and the bridges between everyday talking to the deepest realms of the psyche, hoping that with them we can free one another.
Until then, I sit in the dark as the muse creeps up beside me, kissing my lips and massaging my hands, getting me ready for the next wave. And as it whispers sweet somethings into my ears, my heart is taken once again.