If you’ve known me for any substantial amount of time, it’s pretty obvious that writing is a big part of who I am.
Before I even had my first crush or inkling of romance — Traci Liang, sixth grade — I remember loving writing — sitting with my dad, whose native tongue is Vietnamese, working on a Pokemon-inspired universe that would have surely failed any intellectual property lawsuit; penning out my general confusion in angsty, adolescent poetry, and at one point, there was even something about a food themed superhero with a nacho cheese blaster for an arm.
Actually, that one may still be good. [scribbling furiously onto notepad]
And yet, for someone who works so closely with the written word, teaching it and weirdly (pettily?), never easily impressed by the words of most great authors, I have rarely done much of it as of late. You can tell just by the date of entries here. One here, two there, a 52 week writing project that stopped less than a third of the way in.
I used to blame life. My degree. My move. My social obligations. My new job. My other new job. My other move.
They weren’t exactly lies, but they were excuses of convenience that helped box my voice tightly into the rigid lines of sports analysis. You’re still writing! Those other facets of yourself can be put on hold, at least until until you find consistent inspiration! Another excuse of convenience.
Last winter, right before the holiday break, I came across something with my juniors: a small piece out of Hemingway’s “Snows of Kilimanjaro”, cutting and pinpoint.
Now he would never write the things that he had saved to write until he knew enough to write them well. Well, he would not have to fail at trying to write them either. Maybe you could never write them, and that was why you put them off and delayed the starting.
It stuck with me, as the crux of my dilemmas, distilled down into 52 words.
I was scared.
I’ve been scared since ’14, and I am scared even now, typing this; worried most deeply of all, that I have peaked — pun somewhat intended — as a writer. That I have produced my best work, with nothing left ahead of me, no talent to draw on, and nobody that cares to read it.
In all likelihood, most of the above paragraph is true. I will probably fail the predictions of my mentor, who believed that I was once destined for something bigger by the time I got to her age, and I will definitely continue to ferociously avoid the label of writer, forever seeing myself unworthy.
Next month, though, I’ll be 25, a milestone that arrives right when my personal life is in throbbing chaos. This is not an easy time for me, and I don’t think it will be for a while. I do have some kickass friends to lean on, but they can’t, and won’t be the only things that help see me through. See, the nice thing about chaos is the chance for order anew, as I re-evaluate where I am exactly in life, and who I want to be. [This may finally be the year I stop talking about getting in shape and live healthier, for example.]
Some people call that getting your shit together. Maybe I’m just doing that.
And part of my shit, even if I have packed it away in the attic of my mind for too long, is my writing, my real, authentic voice — the one that is interested in more than just whatever’s happening with the California Golden Bears, and some times writes imaginary conversations with his guardian angel, or whatever else tickles his fancy.
I do suspect you’ll be hearing from it again quite soon, and in much higher frequency than before. Enjoy! Or don’t. Your choice.