I often wonder, in a world where you can create something much more exciting, stimulating, (and honestly do something more lucrative) than writing - why is it that I still have a love affair with putting pen to paper? It’s old-school, almost ancient, and it seems like writing now in long-form is a death knell on getting anyone to read you. But maybe that’s why I still do it.
Here, when it’s just me on a page - I'm not screaming for attention on TikTok, trying to write a funny or witty tweet, worried about how I look or curating an aesthetic on Instagram, or hoping that my personality equals views on YouTube. I am simply me. Chaotic, rambling, complex, and frankly often silly - me. And that is glorious. Putting pen to paper (or finger to key) here in this white box is like an intravenous drip refilling an empty cup deep inside my soul. It lets me breathe. I often worry that my attention span is so short, and getting shorter where entertainment, box sets, doom scrolling - are all an app or a swipe away - but when I'm writing, the noise stops, and I just am. It forces me to be present. And when I do it right, the act of writing relaxes me, and allows me to get out of the way of myself. In a way, for me, it’s like a living meditation.
I have written in many forms: I have a bookcase full of journals scribbled with the messy ramblings of a neurotic teenager: songbooks, life plans, poetry banks, food diaries, manifestation notebooks - the list is endless. I avoided looking at them for almost a decade, hell bent on the idea of ‘moving forward’, ‘progress’ and ‘not looking back’, but I finally feel that I can reflect on myself in a healthier way and look at how far I’ve come, if not physically, but mentally, and be kinder to the thoughts and feelings I experienced while growing up.
It sounds cliche, but I owe my life to pens and pads of paper. As a kid, I had a lot of ‘feelings’ that I had to dissect, release, observe, sift through and allow… then get to the next great journey - acceptance. But seeing them pour out of me onto the page - no matter how unstructured or chaotic, was part of my healing.
I have also experienced periods of my life where I felt desperately lonely. Though I had friends I could text, or go out dancing with, they would never be privy to some of the despair that was happening when I came home and closed the door: and so, on my desk, I created a sanctuary, where my diaries became a constant friend that I could say anything to, without judgement. On my darkest nights in my solitude and questioning, I would beg for answers or comfort, and after exasperating the search for something external to help, something larger than me would write back what I needed to hear in that moment. I didn’t know where these words came from, even though it was my hand that wrote them. And so, my love affair with writing continued.
Although I have written in many forms, as well as created ‘content’ across other platforms in images and videos, writing long form somehow allows me to tap into a deeper truth. Writing long form is like unravelling tied and twisted strings of thought that are lodged in a honeycomb in the mind.
And it is still difficult. The page faces me, and here on these faint blue lines - there are no lies - not even little white ones. Sometimes I find myself sitting down at the page, and I ask it for forgiveness. Even though I arrive asking for some diamond of truth to be bestowed upon me from the depths of my consciousness, I realise I have long neglected the well that holds the water for my words. “You must be thirsty.” I recognise. “Not just thirsty, but weary,” the pen replies. And then comes the apologies to myself. I’m sorry that I turn up to my most important task, that I always leave last, so exhausted and weary and unprepared. Much of my ‘work’ nowadays is just to create optimal conditions so that I can ‘create’ and just allow the words to flow in whichever way they want to: not to force it too much, or to expect anything grand, simply to be the conduit. And on those days, or months, where my well is dry, to make inspiration and movement a priority. To get back into the flow of life, to travel, to change my perspective, or to do that hardest of things: to simply surrender to what is, and feel beloved by the Universe, no matter what.
But I, being human, always arrive yearning for those rare days, where some excavation from the coils of my mind unearths not only hidden gold, but finds and remembers the page to be the only living place I know which offers a constant refuge for eternal rest.