Write Fight

In my formative years I was an avid reader, spending hundreds from gift money on books from Scholastic magazines, tearing through the small ‘library’ a teacher kept in her classroom — she had a great impact on me and while we don’t talk much we do interact from time to time, I think about her often and every once in a while she sends love my way too — and perusing all of the libraries I had access to. There were only a couple instances of books beyond my level being in my possession (notably, Prey by Michael Crichton, which I just exchanged last month at a friend’s house for another of his books, but have had since those Scholastic days).

Between having read a number of words I’ve never heard and my tongue tying itself the moment I get nervous, I have regularly found myself mispronouncing words. I was mocked less for this than for having the Wisconsin accent when coming back to Chicagoland (‘bag’ apparently rhyming with ‘bad,’ although I don’t think it was that extreme), but it is still a silly thing that folks do sometimes. Who cares, really? show the right way to say it and move on, no point in turning it into a mockery. Still, a couple instances stick in my mind and make me feel the way I have just illustrated. They are not important.

It’s been harder to sit down and read like I used to. At my peak, an A5 book with regular-sized print would take about an hour per 100 pages. So when The Ruins was adapted into a movie (more on horror another time, I wasn’t and am not planning on watching it, but knowing it was a book made me go out and get that immediately) it took me just shy of four hours to get through. Pretty good use of time, really.

Writers are readers.

At 13 I wrote a story based originally on some dream I’d had. Shared it with a few folks, family wanted to publish it (I thank the Mothman they did not, holy fire), and a few years back was contacted from someone who wanted another copy to read. I feel some sense of shame about it, given the content of it, but at the same time it wasn’t really any worse than Twilight.

I wrote a lot then otherwise. Kept a journal, retelling my day in fine detail, kept a dream journal, retelling my dreams in fine detail. My memory was sharp, despite the external and internal forces that put my mental health into the gutter. It feels absolutely ridiculous that even with medicine and a small array of tools acquired from a run with a psychologist (whom I desperately need to see again), my mental health has been so poor in recent years that my memory is absolutely shot. Big ol’ Swiss cheese holes both in the old and new memories. Then again, I haven’t written like that in ages. The connection between writing and memory has been something I’ve intermittently tried to work on in my adult life, but I always find some reason to stop. I am tired, exhausted, my writing is full of comma- and adverb-abuse — something I am definitely planning on continuing through this entry. I tend to think of it as adequate, although I am always caught off-guard by someone misunderstanding something which reinforces the low self-worth belief that I cannot communicate effectively in any format, and definitely not in writing.

Arguing that I can’t write is like arguing that I can’t draw.

I had a list of things important things written out and accessible on my phone for a Thing recently. The anxiety in me makes me worry about everything that could potentially go wrong: what if the traffic is inexplicably bad and I’m late? (they were doing road construction and traffic was indeed bad), what if the person at the counter gives me a judgemental sideways look? (a person at the counter did indeed do this), what if X isn’t there? (X was, indeed, not there), and the list went on like this. Sometimes, lists are helpful here. Instead of getting so anxious, so nervous, so caught up in my head, that I completely lose the plot, I have text I have written down to keep me on track.

At some point during this Thing, I handed over my list to showcase a small blurb that I felt was mildly amusing. I was told I was a good writer, to which I said the above. I think, anyway; stumbling over speech is definitely a thing. This was a silly thing to do, because yes, I absolutely can write well at times. I can draw well at times too — I’m awesome at hands and I’ll tell you at some point how to draw them (actually, the point is now: most folks have at least one hand to reference on themselves, so assuming you do and you are drawing hands, you have your reference material attached to you already). It turned into an argument — here is where I clarify that the word can be unnecessarily harsh and I certainly don’t mean it that way. My thinking was challenged, pressed, perhaps even squished like this gnat is about to be if he doesn’t get off my screen. Someone who is far more intelligent than I could hope to be and who obviously knew what they were talking about calling me on my bullshit made me feel a way I am not sure how to express.

And since you asked twice and half another time before giving up on the question (I simply failed to answer): no, I don’t write poetry. What is poetry? I’ve no rhythm, the words “iambic pentameter” sound fun but what are they even? Rhyming is not something that comes freely to me, and I’m not particularly apt to create good imagery. I don’t get it. Sure, free-form is a thing but at that point what isn’t poetry? Perhaps that is my own ignorance. Maybe I’ll try, maybe I have already. And maybe I am aware of exactly what I’ve done here and how jarring the end of this paragraph is.

Electrifying, that’s a good way to put it. I could also describe it as reigniting a fire that’s been smoldering for years. The motivation knocked me directly into my chair and I started a concerted effort into searching for and finding my metaphorical voice, drumming up the strength to project that voice. In a free-writing document that even I am not allowed to read titled “Worthless,” the first step has been waiting for me to notice it is there and put my foot on it. Although it is emotional vomit, it is still practice in sitting down to write. Practice that is essential, much like practice is apparently essential to finding the upper body strength to do a single pushup. That’s a different story though.

For everything that writing can bring me, I hope I can figure it out.

And thank you.

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Ovata, Acronicta

Ovata, Acronicta

Someone told me I was a good writer, so now I’m proving…something. Tend to one’s own flame, and do not extinguish the flames of others.