Originally posted on My Trending Story (which you should totally follow me on because there’s stuff there you won’t see here and vice versa).
Can I confess something to you?
I hate writing. Absolutely loathe it. Every time an idea pops into my head, I silently groan as I write it down so I won’t lose the words. I dread the empty spaces in my day when I’m alone with my laptop or a notebook and I just have to create something. I hate writing, but I can’t stop.
I can’t stop composing little scraps of prose in my mind. Today I was loading the dishwasher and wrote an entire stanza of a poem inspired by a Buzzfeed article I read. I can never escape my words. There’s no telling when my thoughts will stop racing and chasing down rabbit holes and provide me with a couple lines of pure magic to turn into a blog post or a poem or a letter to go into my shoebox of impossible things. Of course, I can’t just leave them alone. No, I have to pursue them, to spend hours upon hours finding more words to string together in a pleasing format in order to tell a story.
I hate writing because it’s often painful. It often requires me to think about things I don’t like thinking about, to take a tiny ounce of truth and stitch together enough lies to change reality. It makes me stare at a blank page for hours on end while internally screaming about how I’d make much better progress if I just put words on the page already. I have to be witty and insightful and clever and beautiful and raw and vulnerable, and I’m hardly ever all of those things at once. I have to find the perfect words, and words have always been so flighty for me. And then there’s the whole “needing to have something to say” thing, and sometimes I just don’t. Or worse, I do, but I’m too scared to actually say them.
What’s worse: Having nothing to say and all the time to say it? Or having too much to say and not enough time to say everything? I don’t know, but something tells me I’m going to find out the hard way. Maybe I’ll write about it.
Because I can’t stop writing. I can’t find the strength or the sanity or the impulsivity to just let the words be forgotten. I can’t fight the ecstatic impulse (thanks, I’ll Give You the Sun) of creativity, of artistry, to paint the world with my words, to shape a world out of my words. And there is nothing more painful, to me at least, than to open myself up to creativity, to create something out of nothing but a song in my heart and strings of letters rearranging themselves in my mind. The metaphor about pulling teeth comes to mind every time I sit and look at the hastily scrawled notes and try to figure out which story to tell next, which part of my soul to give the world, to rip my heart out of my chest and hand it to anybody who asks for it.
I’m kind of, maybe, a little obsessed with Vincent Van Gogh because he’s kind of my artistic soulmate; if one of the greatest artists in the world would ever consent to deal with all that that entails. But you see, I’ve always felt this pull towards him, like we’re kindred spirits and I just have to dig a little deeper to figure out why. His paintings are so beautiful and hopeful, but if you know anything about my friend Vincent, you’ll know that his life was sad, that he was sad. In fact, he apparently wrote in his suicide note that, “This sadness will never end.” So here I stand, a twenty-three-year-old fledgling artist studying the juxtaposition that is Vincent’s sadness and his art’s inexplicable cheer and wondering how. I cannot make happy things when I am sad; I cannot make sad things when I am happy. So I stand at the crossroads and wonder how. How can I be a great artist when I can’t master my emotions enough to write beautiful things regardless of how un-beautiful I feel?
But I keep trying. And that, more than anything, is what draws me closer towards Vincent’s brilliance. I keep writing, even though it isn’t always good and even though much of it goes unappreciated. I keep writing because I keep finding stories to tell. I keep writing because my voice has not grown weary, and because I have an artist’s soul. Like Kate Chopin wrote in The Awakening, “To succeed, the artist must possess the courageous heart.” Vincent had a courageous heart and kept painting, and he is now considered the greatest artist to ever live (even if it’s only to his artistic soulmate). I have a courageous heart, so maybe one day I’ll be considered the greatest writer to ever live.
Until then, I will keep creating universes with my words; continue writing something new, something old, and maybe even something perfect.