It is almost midnight. My daughter has finally fallen asleep, which means I still have some time to myself before my eyes sag and I doze off. In the interim, I spend time sifting through emails, checking my social media feeds, refreshing and scrolling. I have drafts upon drafts upon ideas that have yet to see the light of my social media feeds, some of which may never make it past the publish and edit phase. I have become the reluctant recluse of sorts, holding and clinging on to pieces, ideas or thoughts.
I write long after the Red Bull is done, the espresso has worn off, and the incense has burned to its last ash. What comes out of it is almost inconsequential. The process is the liberation, the libation poured onto the page lines. It is the releasing of that tension between tendon and pen, that affords us the right to write—that gives credence to the written word, and a sense of purpose to the author who scribes their hearts to the page.
Writing is religious; it is an act of sacrifice. Inside each pen stroke is an idea, a movement, a solution, or a whisper. All of it is here, if we are willing to grab, grasp, or hear.
The calling only beckons when we open the door for its arrival. Stories literally do not write themselves. They do live for us, however. They are everywhere and anywhere that we are present for them to be had, heard, and held. The stories gather like fireflies flung to the heat, and we catch them in mason jar lids with the holes poked through, giving them air and light. We draw the path out with our words; and sometimes, we wing it.
My favorites, the Giovanni’s, Baraka’s, Junot’s and Nas’ of my day, accomplish this over meters, alliterations and iambic parables with precision. Keats, Ginsberg and Kerouac and Christopher Wallace are my idols and heroes.
The literary giants I admire the most have coerced me into planting my flag firmly in the sand and saying, plainly, “Go!”
So, my challenge to both you and I is to do the same. The biggest and brightest writers, the untapped and undiscovered that will soon be the most coveted of the lot, should be the ones to lead the charge.
Write when you feel like the idea is there, or even when it is not (especially, when it’s not). Write when you are tired or bored. Write when you’re on the train, or on the bus, or even when you’re in the bathroom. Write on notepads, or on your phone, or on napkins; use whatever is accessible.
Don’t give up. Take every opportunity. Just keep writing.
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