January 15, 2014

What Being A Writer Feels Like

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What is the issue?

I have always been amazed how communication makes or breaks things easily. Is the line to draw not so thin? I have watched people struggle over communication, being torn apart by words: my parents over divorce, my friends over their own relationships, my boyfriends over me. We struggle to say we hate, to say we love. We use the wrong words for their wrong meanings. We abuse them, and we can’t even bear the consequences.

Words. They are tiny, precise, they are substantial. They can be written, or said, and they are to be handled with care. Their impact has no limits. They can mean a thousand little things. Things we may sometimes want to ignore. Why though? All the time, words are pretended not to be heard, are hoped to be pronounced. Words are thoughts, actions, qualms. Words are promises one did not hold, regrets of a life we did not embrace, traces of a memory we cannot let go of. The power of words is outstanding. How many hearts have they healed, how many miseries have they waved away, how many names have they saluted? Unspoken, they can wreck the soul. Said out loud, they can hurt, crush, pull apart, destroy, bind and create, too. In a fraction of a second. You can not take those words back, those words that here lie on the wooden floor, among the broken glass. Words have causes and consequences, always. Bound together, words form sentences, abstract metaphors, poems, articles, collected works. Beautiful ones. And sometimes, words can change the world. Or let’s hope so, at least. Please, let’s. Words are my belief. Nice words, bad words, always watch for the difference. One day, that difference could be everything.

Every day, I hear journalism will disappear soon enough. Every day, I firmly respond: “not as long as art exists, as words exist”. I hold onto their existence. Their existence is my own. And few have been the times words have left my side.

Sure, some days words are just dumb, really. Especially, those days one cannot speak, those days every word comes out wrong. Those I find to be the worst. Words make communication impossible, they make us look silly, wordless, even. But how much I love words. For what they are, entirely.

Words abound, everywhere. Shall we be careful of the words we use, the words we say, the words we write down, the words we scream at the top of our lungs on a Friday night. Words form a voice on their own. So open your ears and listen. Listen with care. Because some words may not be pronounced twice.

Being a writer is dedicating one’s own life to those words. It is nothing healthy, nor reassuring. It is scary, risky, extreme. I think over words way more than any regular human being should. It is disturbing, and overwhelming, but it amuses me. Writing is a game, a puzzle. It is playing with syntax, semantic, metaphors, assonances and rhymes. It is assembling the pieces together, it is choosing, cautiously. It is fighting with punctuation and little linking words, struggling with adjectives, repetitions and synonyms. It is stumbling over words that you invent. Being a writer is making people think and dream, and smile, and cry. That, all at the same time, possibly. It is convincing, discussing a world you can barely understand yourself. It is living between lines and thoughts, blank pages of a Word document and those few notebooks you have received on each one of your birthdays for 21 years. But being a writer is nothing of a choice, nothing of a career anyone has possibly decided to lead, nothing of a career I wish for anybody to have chosen. No one chooses to struggle over a slight fantasy, to hear inner voices of characters you have made up entirely, to constantly be writing even when you’re not and to be late to every meeting because you suddenly had a strike of inspiration. It is a passion, a need. Like music, or art, or sport. It wears you out, but brings you peace. Peace to the soul, peace you cherish, at all times. Being a writer is a part of your identity, a part that defines the person you are now, a part of you that you could not do without. When I spend a few days without writing, my thoughts get messy, my heart resentful. Being a writer, is not knowing when your words will be heard, read. It is not being sure whether you can turn that fantasy into a career. A career that could allow you to pay your bills, those fancy drinks you get on Sunday brunches and that tiny room you live in, in the heart of Brooklyn, far far away. It is however trying to do so. It is believing luck will turn your way, it is believing every thought is relevant, it is believing in the reward of perseverance.

Every day I see people shrugging with a derisiving look when I say being a writer is what I carve myself out to be. “There’s no jobs”, some laugh, waving me away. So I think: what are all the writers in our world left with to do? Because I am not sure about you, but I surely can’t give up. TC mark

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