A friend of mine used to go on about the beauty of writing but rarely did it. He tried to at one point. He was decent at it but I suspect if he would have kept going he could have been great. His excuse was that he was afraid to be in his head. He had it all wrong. You don’t write to get into your head, you write to get out of your head.
The first thing I ever wrote on my own was a speech that I gave to my family on Thanksgiving. It was the November after 9/11. I was a fourth grader who had a “Eureka!” moment in the shower and grabbed a pencil and a piece of paper. I wrote about how we must not fear.
I’m a writer because I do fear. I’m a writer because I seek to create something that doesn’t exist. I worry about having an unvalidated purpose and I feel that if I can create something that provides some sort of change in the world then perhaps I have done my part to leave a mark on the world.
Words, they exist. Communication has existed before me and will exist after me. Great writers, poets and journalists have existed before me and will exist after me. But right now I exist. I’m part of a collective of creatives who are working to capture the moment that we live in, the years that we live through. My community’s undertaking — the undertaking of the great writers, poets and journalists of today — is crucial to the shaping of the culture.
Recently, I made a discovery about my work, or writing in general. Writing self-involved work does not mean the work that you create will be good. I told myself I’d stick to it but it’s been hard.
But this is my last column as the opinion editor of The Commonwealth Times and I have things to say that involve me in them. So I’m breaking my rule, hopefully for one of the last times for a while.
I’ve learned a lot during my tenure over the past year, the skills I possess now are much to be owed to the editors and writers I’ve worked with over the past year. I owe each of them a very sincere thanks in letting me work beside them over the past year while I have attempted to grow to the point where the work I put out is worthy of having the job title that I’ve worn over the past year. More thanks is owed to my family, significant other and friends who have supported me through the thick of it.
Writing is not something I’ve done in college to get by. Writing is not a fad for me. It’s what defines me as a person. It’s the thing I do to grow as a human being and to help those around me grow as well, in whichever way it may help.
Perhaps the thing I have tried to get at most in my writing over the past few years, especially at the CT, is that you are not alone. Someone out there understands the struggle you’re going through. If that is the same thing that I’ve gone through then I hope I’ve helped in some way.