My Short Answer:
I write because I can’t help it.
The stories burn for release. We are soul writers by birth and by destiny and by intention. Not by choice. A soul writer is someone who IS. Denial will result in an unceasing ache and a relentless empty. Our soulful words are the truest way we serve the world.
It is terrifying sometimes, having so many words living inside. They beat snare drum steady in our chest. They burn and scratch and push and pull. They are thirsty for freedom. They crave the danger of the edge. They want someone to promise safety. They don’t give a single crap.
Sometimes we can subdue and tame and become master of this beast, but often we are at its mercy. The words are their own living, fire-breathing dragon. We must get out of the way, and give them space to work through us and birth themselves.
There are days when writing is survival. On these days the spilling of words on page is the only thing that will save us from the demons and from ourselves. The only path to burn down and rebirth. The only way out and through. The very thing that keeps us alive. Truth is, we need to write more than anything. It is the most relentlessly driving force. But many days we’ll do just about anything to avoid having to write. We will hide and run and resist with every last bit of strength we can muster. It’s the ultimate dichotomy of the creative soul.
We live nestled snugly inside paradox. We inhabit our contradictions. We are both walking peace and writhing confusion. Our only certainty comes from the solidity of mystery. Creativity thrives on ultimate possibility and infinite potential. We couldn’t do it if we were any more sure of anything.
Our cuts seep with the precise cadence of our lover’s sigh as our fingers slid from ribs to waist. They feel like a grieving mother hitting the ground, tearing her hair out with the wail of centuries of torn from her chest. They taste the way the ocean feels on bare skin, like salt and wet and cold and freedom. Sometimes we need to cut ourselves, clean slice across soft expanse of skin, force it all to rise to the surface – just to access the truth pulsing through our veins.
We live in metaphor as much as in reality. There are endless ways to draw our own blood. We know them all. We also know that the best way to staunch the bleeding is the exact same way we are both emptied and filled. To sit and spill our guts and our grief and our joy and our sex and our longing and our wanderlust and the time we finally found our way home. To write until we are spent. Until the words are done with us.
We have learned to speak in the spaces between words. In the infinite pause at the top of the incline, in the curve of the comma. In the expanse of the inhale. In the silent slide of lips along clavicle and the closing edge of teeth on hip bone. We know that one almost imperceptible moan can contain an entire love story. And that tears can be the personification of the erotic and that the metallic bite of copper is the exact taste of grief. And that in these soundless spaces we say more than could ever be conveyed with the smooth slide of pen across page and the words of a hundred languages at our disposal.
We dig deep, unearth all of the broken and discarded and fractured pieces. Pottery and garbage and bones and beauty. We dust them off and lay them out and step back to look. We study your history and make sense of your story and then splice you back together into letters and paragraphs and chapters. And on our pages you are more than the sum of your parts and yet exactly what you’ve always been meant to be. This will be disconcerting. And beautiful.
If you love us, even for a time, you won’t walk away unscathed. Loving a writer will fill you and buoy you and shatter you and save you again and again and again. You will become the muse and the one thing standing in her way. We will love like you’ve never been loved and tell stories you never wanted told. We will push past your boundaries and call you safely home. We will love you with wholeness and fullness and notes on scraps of torn musical scores and with the way we whisper your name in the darkest night. Even our touch will feel like a story. You will never be the same.
Thoughts and feelings spill out of my mind with every waking moment, like a child unable to control their crayon within the lines of a colouring book. I write because if I did not I would be driven mad, stuck on a carousel with more weight pressing me down with every rotation and no end in sight. I write because I’m scared. I am so scared, so often and no one will ever see it. Fear runs wild though my blood and even though I know it’s only in my mind I can still feel it snaking down my limbs, tying me down; if I did not dispel it with the ink from my pen I would stay tied forever.
I write because I feel. All too often things reach right inside me, invading me, pushing unapologetically past my body and down into the depths of my soul. My body may react by watering my eyes, sinking my heart and chilling my arms, but my mind needs words to understand why. I write because a human heart continues beating inside my chest despite feeling as though it may burst right out. I write because I love, so fiercely and so wholly that if I didn’t at least try to express it fully I would be unable able to carry on without being completely consumed by the fire of it all. I write because I have lost and it is the only way to fill the space left behind.
I write because I’m growing. The world is vast and varied and I alone am far too small in comparison. The words I write attach themselves to me as if they were muscle and bone, expanding out to the corners; the nooks, the crannies of life. I am an explorer and these sentences are my carrier, passageways that lead me into new territories, beyond boundaries. I write because I am not brave. Apprehension wears me like an old blanket, rarely retiring as I warm it with daily anxieties, unease and what ifs. My body, whilst competent, is not substantial, and my mind, whilst complex is not significant. No, I am not brave, nor substantial, nor significant. But as I write, I can be.
I write because all I truly own are my thoughts. I write because even when I find my notepads full, my fingers swollen and my eyelids drooping, I am never finished. I write because it cannot be censored. It may be imperfect and short of something beautiful but it’s the only honest stamp of myself I can leave on the world. Paper with pen marks mapping out my mind, hoping it may help some other lost soul navigate through theirs.
I write because the world changes me at every turn and if I didn’t, I would be lost. All the places I’ve seen, faces I’ve dedicated time to learning the lines of, conversations that have had me gripping at the edges of the world as if I might fall off- they would dull and rust with time, slowly being buried by the curse of forgetfulness and selective memory. I hope that words written in moments of passion will burn just as brightly as those moments for all of eternity. This is all I want from life; for every minute lived with feeling to exist alongside me as I grow old, creasing love, loss, agony and curiosity across my face, with the ease of a pen moving across a blank piece of paper, as I read back the exhaustive accounts of how simply being alive really felt - and so I write.
These are my words, and my naked heart projected on this screen. Nothing more than that. And if you are a writer you have your own pulsing, beating, brutal, brilliant heart. And your own muse and ritual and truth. And only you will know exactly how it loves and lives and breathes your art into life and builds your life into art. And you will know that there is only one thing you ever really need.
Don’t let me stop you. Don’t pay the slightest attention to my ramblings. These are nothing but midnight meanderings fueled by a hard shot of whiskey and romanticized by a blood red candle flame and filled with the unceasing longing of my own ocean heart.
But you? All you need is a blank page and a good pen. Light your candles and pour yourself a drink. Séance your ghosts and seduce your muse. Dance only for yourself. Make it hot. Feel the truth of your bones leading the way.
And don’t let me try to tell you a single thing about your own truth. Or your life or your creativity or the ways and hows and whys of your loving or your life or your words. You know how it is for you. You’ve always known. So quit the excuses. Sit down. Breathe deep. Own that burning drive inside you.
And write the fuck out of your life!