I write. It’s an impulse born from the need to escape overwhelming sorrow, but it’s become much more. Writing expresses my rage at the gap between what the world is and what it should be, at the short-sighted selfishness that kneecaps even the most determined attempts at beauty. I hold up love, honor, courage, and fidelity as banners, daring others to call them fairy tales. And I desperately hope it’s enough to justify my place on an increasingly crowded planet.
I love waking up. I even stay up late and take naps when I can, so I can do it twice. For that perfect moment, everything is clear. Fresh from being cradled in the arms of God, my thoughts are briefly transcendent. At that moment, I feel like I can write everything. A few paragraphs will send me leaping over the Misty Mountains of my desire, and this time, I won’t allow anything to stand in my path, not even myself.
It’s a point, like certain moments of parenting, where the intersection of responsibility and power shines with perfect clarity. As writers, we can create anything. Beauty, squalor, triumph, and failure. We’re absolute gods in our make-believe worlds. What do I do with my stories? Is it enough to justify their existence?
I never know, certainly not right away. I need distance from my work, time and space to build objectivity. Some stories are just that. Small moments to make you smile in a world that wishes to dictate both our laughter and our tears. Other tales mean more, at least to me. I’m fascinated by reader responses to my work. Even more so than painting, what another person brings to my writing makes it an intersection between them and me. For that brief span, we touch each other, even though we may never meet.
Sometimes writing is joyous, and I can barely type the words for the fierce elation flooding through me. Other times it’s pure work ethic, forcing myself to complete this portion of my chosen life’s work. Carrying the banner of hope starts within myself.
I don’t know how talented I am. How does one measure something like that? I do know I am determined enough to finish my tales and be judged. I believe there are far worse fates than a story locked inside, but it’s a useful metaphor for existence. Some people have their lives twisted until they are only a hollow shell. I’ve been to that place. I’ve raged at God, begging him to take back the gift of life he has given.
No more, or at least, not today. Today, it’s my hope that someone will read one of my tales, and it will reach an answering spark, a spirit uplifted in curiosity or mirth or hope. Light is stronger than darkness, and this is the brightest candle I know how to kindle.
Today, I write.