“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you”, (Bradbury, R. Zen in the art of Writing) perhaps this is an accurate understanding of why I am often compelled back to writing. Ever since a young age I have itched to pick up a pen. From my early disastrous attempts at poetry, song lyrics and diary entries of an eight-year-old. However, I tired easily of keeping journals. They felt too laborious, too mundane – perhaps that is more a commentary on my own life. Let’s not dig too deep just yet. I even tired of my Jane-A-Day book that seemed to be more a result of my growing disconnect from the often patriarchal, sexist quotes from the era.
It was however, my third year university self-initiated project on writing which kickstarted my love for language and writing again. Writing one Honest line for thirty days. What started out as a thirty day challenge has waned a considerable amount due to the pressures of everyday life. But one thing is for sure I still have this niggling feeling to write. Perhaps even more so, that project was the first real time I had shared my writing with people. Shared my work and received a great response.
I want to write.
I want to write about the things that matter, ideas, concepts, theories, current events, honesty and life. This is why ‘diaries’ never worked for me, they trailed off onto more far reaching topics than what teenage disaster happened that particular day. Nonetheless, those early writing attempts are what keep me interested, it was just a case of in my adolescence I lacked the substance and confidence perhaps to tackle the bigger topics.
I want to write about things other people can connect with.
Isn’t that why we read? Why we watch films, listen to music – so that we can connect as humans. That for those few moments we revel in the knowledge that we are not alone. That you are understood. The older I get the more I realise a lot of adulthood is figuring out what the heck we’re doing but also reaching out. Whether that be reaching out for family, love, charity, approval, self affirmation or just another slice of pizza. Everybody extends their hand at some point.
I want to reach out to my younger self.
I want to reach out to the girl I was in high school. Just maybe, through addressing some of my past experiences I can connect to the adolescents struggling out there right now. I can say, “hey – you are not alone”. Even if that fails, at the very least I feel this writing project will be somewhat cathartic, something I need. Anaïs Nin said, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect”. For me, it is less about nostalgia, the events I have to share are less than desirable, but lately they surface and only with age and retrospect have I realised that some of those things really were not cool.
I want to put my grievances to bed.
Maybe it is a sense of justice I want, or maybe it is to raise awareness. I honestly cannot pin point the exact why, it is more a combination of self reflection and the current state of the world that makes me want to be heard. I feel I have stayed quiet for too long. It has taken me a considerable number of years to realise it is okay to not be okay. Life certainly is not a bed of roses – or maybe it is – it is just that you do not have to hide the thorns.
I want to be heard.
Words & Photography: Radhika Mary