I’m at another roadblock for writing. I’m unsure what to write about today. I think it’s easy to get discouraged with writing because some days you sit down and stare at the page or the screen and it’s like…
I like bread.
Do you like bread?
Let’s eat bread.
No one wants to read that but maybe they do want to eat bread with you. Years ago, I went to Barnes and Noble to get a couple of writing books; one was about writing in AP style and I forget the other one. The cashier said, “well you know if you want to be a writer, all you have to do is write.” K. Thanks.
Hemingway once said,
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed,”
and I think that’s more accurate than anything else. I started writing when I was about 13 years old. I wrote moody pre-teen poetry and tried to write songs about things I didn’t understand then, like love. I thought I was super deep and really good then (I was neither of these things). I remember I used to carry a notebook with me everywhere I went because I’m always lost in my own thoughts and sometimes they’re good thoughts. In my 8th grade science class, I got to sit next to this boy EVERYONE had a crush on. He snatched my notebook one day and read every single thing in it and I had never felt more naked in my entire life up to that point.
He started to write in it after he read it and then gave it back to me. My 14-year-old heart pounded as I knew he wrote a profession of his love for me, after seeing my poetic soul between the pages of a spiral bound notebook, that had hearts on the front. I turned to the pages he wrote on and it was… the lyrics of AC/DC’s You shook me all night long… the entire song. Needless to say, my poetic soul hadn’t spoken to him in a manner I had anticipated but I kept that notebook for a long time, just because he had written in it.
Thankfully, that and all my notebooks from those days have been destroyed and lost because it’s really embarrassing to be reminded of your awkward years even when no one else is around. I never stopped writing though. I’ve had years when I don’t write anything at all and other times it’s like there are so many things going on my head that I can’t do anything but vomit words on a page and try and make sense of them.
Writing is the only real way I know how to express myself. It’s weird because it’s just words and you’d think I could speak these things with ease but I can’t. When I try to speak these things, it’s like the words become cotton in my mouth and I smash them all together.
In writing though, I can take time to find the correct words and put them together in a way that accurately expresses whatever it is I need to say. It allows me to bleed in ways I don’t know how else to. Writing has always been this raw exposure to my insides and a place I can be vulnerable.
I didn’t share my poetry for years. When I’m experiencing an intense emotion, it expresses itself in poetic form and I was terrified to let people see this nakedness. I tend to write when I’m depressed or angry and I didn’t want anyone to know that I feel those things, I guess. As a teenager, I was afraid people would think I had some sort of serious mental disorder (but it was a different time and mental health wasn’t talked about).
When I was 26, I went to a sort of slam poetry event. It wasn’t all slam poetry and it wasn’t all poetry. Some people played music, others read poems or essays. I decided I’d read my poems though. I drank 2 beers (I don’t even like beer) before I got up on stage because I was terrified. My voice shook the whole time as I read allowed my emotions. After I was done, I got another beer because now I was panicking about being naked in front of so many people and maybe they thought I was terrible. But then, people came up to me unprovoked and said they liked what I had to say and how I said it. I’m sure not everyone likes what I do, but it’s a good feeling to know you’ve resonated with a stranger. It creates a sort of connection that can be difficult to find, I think.
Well, this has been super meta; “I don’t know what to write about so I’ll write about not knowing what to write about and then it turns into why I write.” In college, during a scriptwriting class, my professor said,
“Sometimes you’ll have an idea when you begin to write and then it takes on its own life and becomes something else,”
and I think that happens almost every time I write anything at all. It does become a living thing and you have to decide where it goes based on what you know about it and how it’s behaved.
Well, those are my thoughts for today. Until tomorrow, friends!