NaNoWriMo // Why I Write Episode 2

Saturday, October 29, 2016

It's been awhile, hasn't it? My apologies -- I'm sure most of you know the pressures of high school, especially Junior Year. You have all these voices trying to get in your head, and you aren't sure which one to listen to. How are you supposed to balance it all? Getting good grades, exercising, eating right, and all the things you actually want to do like writing and reading and playing music and actually getting to spend time with people you love. All the while people are telling you that you're not trying hard enough, that life is only as hard as you make it, and you feel so utterly misunderstood because no one gets it. No matter how many times you say it out loud, it doesn't come out right and it never will because words only make sense to you when they're written down.

So, yeah, maybe this isn't really an universal struggle, just my struggle, and no matter what people say, I know they can't really understand because they're not me and they never will be. Lately I've realized more and more that I will always be misunderstood if I can't find a way to use my voice. 

For a long time now I've contemplated writing a novel entitled In Between. It is, essentially, the story of me, told from the perspective of Henry Wright. It's not so much a literal interpretation of my life as it is metaphorical. That is, if you know me in real life, there isn't a character who's supposed to be you. Most of the physical struggles Henry faces are metaphors for emotional and spiritual struggles I've faced, and the characters are, more or less, different types of people I've encountered who have helped and hurt me. 

This is a really big deal for me; I've dreamed of writing a novel for as long as I can remember. But I'm a creative crock-pot. It takes a long time for an idea of mine to take root. I have to mess around with it a bit, test the waters, to make sure it's good enough to spend all my time on. I've toyed with the idea of this one for a good year or so, and I'm proud to say that this is the one.

And as most of you in the blog-o-sphere know, November is National Novel Writing Month. Thanks to NaNoWriMo, tons of writers spend November beginning and finishing their brand new novels. This year, I plan to participate. 

Now, I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes because you don't see any of the things I've just written could possibly be related: first I complain because I'm so misunderstood and I don't have time for anything, and then I announce that I'm beginning my first novel. Never fear, friends, I shall explain.

Face-to-face, out-loud communication, as I've said before, has never been easy for me. My whole life I've struggled with feeling things and knowing things that I can't explain because I can't communicate it.  Do you know how annoying it is when you believe something so strongly or when something rips your heart out and you can't tell someone because you don't know how? You don't know how not because you're stupid or incompetent or empty-headed, but because you do not possess the ability. 

For a long time I thought this meant that I wasn't smart, that I wasn't the right material to be a Christian or a Republican or even a Reid because all three of those things imply that you have strong convictions that you're willing to fight for and that you can readily defend when someone tries to shoot you down. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't still struggle with this, but something has since made me realize that God made me the way I am for a reason. I may not succeed in verbal communication, but that insufficiency has given me a great talent for saying what I want to through my writing. I'm not bragging -- God gets all the credit for that, believe me. What I mean to say is that I write because I'd go completely crazy without it. Words are my livelihood. And, unless I want to be utterly misunderstood for the rest of my life, I need to write this novel. 

No, I don't want to be rich or famous. I want to be heard. No, I don't care if only three people read my novel and decided it's rubbish. I just want my voice to be out there. I just want a chance, okay? That's all I'm asking for. You don't have to like my beliefs or my book or anything I say, but I, as a member of the human race, deserve to be heard. I've spent my entire life listening to other people tell me their stories, but I've never had the guts to tell mine. 

This is me, speaking out. 

Stay tuned, okay? 

About Magic

Saturday, October 8, 2016

It's a Monday. 

I sit in a chair by a window, the aroma of strong, dark coffee rising, intermingling with echoes of laughter. I am alone.

A man comes in. He's scruffy, confused, disoriented, wearing dingy rags and an old, knowing frown. He takes a seat in the middle of the coffee shop. It's the only one left. People stare.

I am writing about magic: the magic of the autumn breeze as it carries colored leaves to their death,so they can rise again in the trappings of spring. But I see this man over the frames of my glasses, and he smiles. I look down at my coffee. It is untouched. I smile. 

In a moment, I am outside of myself. I stand up and weave through the maze of chairs, my mug in hand and a song in my heart. People stare. I place the mug in front of the man with the tired eyes and old clothes. He smiles. 


He talks about his late wife and his old job and how he ran himself into a hole too big to climb out of. He talks about how he's always had a passion for teaching but he never got the chance. He talks about that one time he got to visit New York City, how the skyscrapers truly did touch the sky -- but he always preferred hometown dirt over man-made concrete jungles. And then he tells me how he has never gotten to say these things before because no one would listen.
No one would give him the chance. 
Maybe they tossed him an over-the-shoulder look of sympathy or shoved a dollar at him to make themselves feel good, but they never cared. They never once asked him his story, or even offered to tell him theirs. 
I tell a joke -- the one about the bison and the buffalo, or something like that -- and, perhaps for the first time in a long, long time, he laughs. And it is the music of true joy. He finishes his coffee, and I return to my window seat as he waves goodbye. 
I am writing about magic: the magic of people as they leave footprints on your heart.

Make someone smile today, okay?

The Smell of Saturday

Saturday, October 1, 2016

sunlight streaming through the windows.
waking up because you want to, not because you have to.
morning cartoons.
cozy tee-shirts.
the music of the coffee pot.
the brisk morning air.
bare feet.
fresh paint.
three cups of tea with just a touch of honey.
long drives.
cute cafes.
children playing the front yard.
oak trees waiting to be climbed.
the dust on old books longing to be read.
soft piano chords.
shouts of joy.

Saturday smells like peace, freedom, adventure, fullness, mystery, and new beginnings.

Sorry I've been so absent lately. School is busy. Life is hard. But I'm treasuring living in the moment and working for what I want. Life is good.