It’s curious how similar being a writer is to having a borderline personality disorder. You go about your day job [Let’s be real, most of us got one!] easy as you please, your hands busy jotting down meeting minutes while the “writer” part of your compartmentalized brain hisses and whistles to conjure up a recipe – a couple fictional friends, a dash of magic, pinch of mayhem and love – and cook it on a slow simmer. Somewhere between the worries about bills, deadlines and taxes, tentative threads about subconscious observations, dialogue, structure, and research keep piling up in the back of your overloaded mind, along with a never-to-be-finished TBR [We’re not talking about the social awkwardness, self-doubt and random bouts of melancholy we drink with chai with every day.]
For the uninitiated, let me put it simply. It’s like being in two cities at once: one opaque, uncompromising and touchable, the other translucent, fluid
and more real than the first. And while it may sound like walking a tightrope – it is – if you ask any of us, we’ll tell you we love it.
But here’s a secret: we’re also very, very afraid of it. And consequently, ourselves. Because while we do love the fictional world and its creative freedom, we too, are occasionally surprised by the things that crawl their way out. Words have a way of creeping inside the debris of the lost and found corner of your being. A dark corner where a cauldron full of petty jealousies, misplaced anger and old anguish bubble within the thick, jelly-like gravy of “what if’s.”
What if this hurts someone? What if someone misunderstands?
What if my thoughts are too happy? What if my shadow too dark?
What if no one reads, and what if too many do?
What if I’ve nothing new to say? And oh, dear God, what if I do?
Thus, writing, like any other form of creativity, is part art, part therapy.
Take this piece, for example. I wasn’t prepared to write this today. Was simply going to let my frustrations and questions of self-esteem crawl unseen like a spider on the back of my neck and escape into the charming, soothing embrace that is storytelling. Tranquil bare bones of an untold tale had whizzed behind my eyes all day, calling to play catch. But when I sat down to structure it, this came out instead.
And it’s only by reaching this last paragraph that I’ve figured out why. It’s not because I’m depressed or disappointed, but rather because I’m not. And so I want to take this minute and tell all those who are: please, hang in there. I know its hard but don’t give up on your dream because it feels foolish and un-achievable; stick to it because it does. Sure, it sometimes feel like you’re running in a race alone and still losing, but this fire you now feel will scorch you to ash, is the very flame that keeps you bright and warm.
Ans yes, life may very well appear, be arbitrary and fleeting. But remember, stars are bright because the night is dark and mangoes sweeter ‘cuz they last just the summer…