Editor's Note: This article first appeared in Issue 11 of Holl & Lane Magazine.
There isn't much about me that the stranger to my right doesn’t know. I’ll tell you just what I think about most things and share with you the highlights mixed in with the most mundane moments of my day and every day before if you’re willing to listen. I verbally process almost everything and hold no secrets of my own, except for this, writing. I nearly pen just as much as I talk, but these words I tuck away for the eyes of no one.
So here we are, starting at the beginning. Writing is not this thing that happens at a wooden desk or a perfectly curated coffee house with a black coffee and blacker ink. It’s always a back road full of blind corners yet paved with a strange familiarity. The Persian poet, Hafez, once said, “Leave the familiar for awhile. Let your senses and bodies stretch out. … Change rooms in your mind for a day.” And so I write, a thing I do daily never knowing just where it’ll lead. I wake up and prepare for the day I lived before my slumber, but today will not be so similar. Something leads me to that back road.
Get in your car and get off at the exit that looks abandoned where the small gas station is vacant and the road signs are a faded jade. The letters no longer have definition, so you turn left instead of right because your gut has whispered and is gently pulling you by the hand. You find an empty field that seems to know something you don’t. The sun falls and not a cloud has come out to play this twilight, so the stars greet your wandering mind.
Now, you’re faced with an even larger unknown wilderness - the universe. It makes your clavicle relax and fall; your lungs fill very slowly and release even slower. The space between your place in the yellow grass and the vastness of the unknown grows closer and closer with every dispelling of carbon dioxide. The trees thank you. The stars wink. The tall grass whispers. The earth is dancing with you as you lay the stillest you’ve ever laid. It impresses its grandness upon your soul and the wilderness becomes a home, but it’s one that no one can ever enter the same way again, including you. So, stay here and breathe.
Now how does one begin transcribing the whispers and the forwardness of the sky? When you experience such magic, perhaps the only thing that anyone can really know is your newness of action. Live like the stars are eagerly waiting to dance again and still write as though everyone deserves such a love.
I read an interview of the writer/adventurer/inspirer, Jedidiah Jenkins, where he said, ”Everything started to happen before it happened because I talked about wanting it to happen. I’m not trying to sound brave, but I was willing to scare myself by setting high expectations for what I wanted to do.” I have found that writing is not a struggle. I have easily found a word here and there that has captured a small part of me. A spark flickers and I think, “Write it down for tomorrow is a new day and the morning light and restful sleep may blot it out.”
While I have found the words, I still hide them hoping they’ll venture into another’s view all on their own. But now I am choosing to scare myself. I don’t know for certain that my writing is of any importance to others, but still I write. John Steinbeck, another favorite writer, says something similar in a letter to one of his best friends while he is contemplating the writing of East of Eden. Steinbeck writes, “I hope something beautiful and true comes out … even if I knew nothing would emerge from this book I would still write it.” He continues, “and it is interesting to think what paper and pencil and the wriggling words are. They are nothing but the trigger into joy - the shout of beauty - the cacajada [burst of laughter] of the pure bliss of creation.”
If nothing I put down in permanence of pen is worth the labor or the ink, I want to at least discover this joy and beauty and laughter that is the “pure bliss of creation.” Perhaps creation is less about the viewer or the judger but rather the creator. What did God create me for? FOR JOY! He finds joy in my existence alone, not because I have become something worthy of awe or praise and not because I am accomplished above the others, but simply because I am a creation of the creator of the universe! Why do we as humans create? I believe it is for ourselves. And so I write for myself with a small glimmer of hope that you too may find joy in it and be inspired to find your cacajada – the pure bliss of creation.
Creation is not just about the thing you’ve poured every ounce of yourself into. Maybe it’s more about doing that thing that others will experience and think, “Yes, I will explore and create too!” I want to be scared into sharing my writing that I’ve convinced myself is no good. To begin something, perhaps you must build the confidence or be pushed from the cliff ’s edge. However it should happen, begin something because you know that what will come after will be good. Expect greatness because YOU are the creator. Any time we create from within, in a spirit of true sincerity, I believe something happens that no one can ever fully explain with words. We’re different; we’re better. When we believe in something so fully, we can do nothing less than shout it from atop the mountain.
And so I’m in, and this is just the beginning.