The noise had become too loud in my head.
I laid in bed starring at the shadows on the ceiling whilst forming sentences with my thoughts, marveling at the way they seemed to flow, working my way through linking paragraphs, scrapping miss-aligned anecdotes, and starting all over again until it seemed I had the “winning” formation.
I play this game with my thoughts, wondering if I’ll have enough motivation to physically start writing. Some nights I can’t sleep until the words that swirl in my head pour out onto paper. I have had moments when I’m frozen at my desk and I simply cannot start anything work-related until I have breathed life into the words that are now impatiently demanding to be birthed.
It was 2 a.m. when I finally slid out of bed and re-positioned myself in the dining room. I wrapped up my lower limbs with a soft but slightly stained blanket to provide comfort to the contrast of the hard chair and wooden table that my arms rest on, as I type away in the dark.
When I talk about writing, I often refer to what’s in my head but it’s my soul that summons the words.
I feel the beat in my heart and the echo throughout my body, traveling through my veins forming loud enough “thought whispers” that simply cannot be ignored.
This is how writing feels to me. I think I have always felt words.
I can vividly recall my first ever piece of “recognized writing” at age 14. My English teacher asked us to create a body of words to describe something that we were fond of at the time and then to market and promote it to the class. I chose the song, “My Father’s Eyes” by Eric Clapton.
I can hear the music now. The memory swirls and brings up a bittersweet feeling.
I believe the reason I won the creative writing task was that I played that song every night for nearly a month to drown out the eerie stillness of my childhood dormitory. The creeks of the floorboards as our head of the house, Mrs. B, skulked though the halls on her rounds; the rustling of bed sheets; and the breathing of others; could sound loud some nights.
However, that song reminded me of my father, who I deeply missed at the time. I would silently cry with it on replay in my ears until I fell asleep. It was soothing my sadness. It was easy to write for the task because I felt strongly about the subject, the music, the feeling it created.
She said I “sold” the song so well that she wanted to buy his album. Wow. I swelled with pride and I felt humbled that something I’d written had such an effect on her.
I have that same feeling when my words resonate with someone and they tell me they feel less alone in what they are going through simply because I decided I would share what was in my heart.
Writing feels like a dance between being brave, sharing your tapestry with the world, boldly thinking, hoping, that it is loved by others. And then tangoing with “who the f*ck am I to declare I can do that?!” (And the “this is all sh*t!” when reading back through it all!).
I have written blogs, letters, love notes, and submitted articles for magazines but the thought of verbally declaring myself a writer in front of others? Wow, that feels big.
As I prepare a piece for a writer’s festival in my local town, I wonder if am subconsciously seeking refuge or the password to a secret entrance into a paradigm full of confident creators.
It still feels like I need to be anointed into “the club” before I call myself a writer or that I need to write for someone else by request before I am worthy of the title. When in reality I became a writer years ago, I just didn’t realize how deep my passion was rooted and how it is part of who I am.
When I dreamt big, I told myself I was a fool and just wistful. If I believed in myself, then the hurt that would follow if I failed would be painful—enough for me to keep myself small and not go after anything too chunky.
Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t, but what they didn’t do was stop or keep small. That’s very clear.
So, here’s to me becoming a writer and my big dream of becoming an author.