Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What I Wish I Knew When I Started Writing

If I had access to a time machine and could go back to slip some instructions to my younger self on the sly, the advice I would impart would be scribed on thick fine parchment, lettered in some elegant yet imposing hand. It would look like a scroll of days long past, the kind that bear secret knowledge that readers innately respect, and it would read something like this:

My Dear,

I cannot tell you the joy my heart felt at seeing you today. So young and full of potential. I know what you will become and I am proud of you. 

Yet, my letter comes with a warning: there is much unpleasant that is coming your way. 

It would seem a kindness to prepare you so as to shelter you from great heartaches, but trust me, to do so would - in truth - be a sinful disservice, so I dare not rob you of those coming and invaluable experiences. Indeed, the sun and the moon will both witness your tears and both will hear you cry. You will feel like the darkness is too close and too heavy, and though these bright heavenly orbs beckon your eyes upward, neither of them can be constant in illuminating your path. The sun sets. The moon wanes. 

Sometimes, you have to light your own candle and watch it burn until the dawn.

I do not tell you of your sorrow so you will fear it. Quite the opposite. I tell you because I want you to know that you faced it, that you dared to live and you never gave up. Even the sharpest of those aches could not permanently stifle your creativity or cage the boundless thing that you demand to be. Nothing can douse the fire burning in you. 

So what am I hoping to accomplish with this missive?

I want you to realize a bit sooner that through it all, there is one thing that is always, always there for you: words.

Use them.

Harness and hone them for they are the only tools you have with which to craft the contentedness your soul craves. Language combined with all that you have experienced will fuel your stories, woman. So embrace that pain you cannot avoid, that ache which wisens you and then, when the world is cruel and shoves you on your ass, you can stand up and show them all you have gleaned from it. 

And I love you. I love all that you - we - are.