The title of this post is somewhat misleading, as I didn’t choose writing, it chose me. I know that’s one of the most pretentious things you can say, especially considering writers already have a reputation for being pretentious, but it’s true. I never considered pursuing another life goal, at least not seriously. That said, writing wasn’t something I’ve always known I wanted to do, in fact, it was only relatively recently in my life that the idea attached itself to me.
The one word I would use to describe myself in my adolesence was aimless. There wern’t many things to fill my day with. I didn’t have any friends or hobbies, I was a marginal student at school, and I didn’t invest much thought in my future. While my peers were preparing for adulthood by starting their own bank accounts and studying for the SATs, my primary concern on a daily basis was what I would have for a snack after I got home. This lack of direction made things awkward for me, especially as I neared the end of my high school career. When people asked me what my plans were for after graduation,I’d have no choice but to make myself sound and feel like an idiot by saying “I don’t know.” An exchange which has burnt itself in my memory was a meeting with my guidance counsellor in my senior year. After 15 minutes of not giving her any real answers, she said to me, without even a hint of sarcasm of condecension in her voice: “Would you rather just sit at home and do nothing?” I had no choice but to say yes.
A true turning point in my life occured a short while after this, when I was picking classes for the spring term of my senior year. I chose creative writing, thinking it would be fun. My teacher was not particularly effective, to be completely honest she was far from what I’d consider smart, but it was undoubtedly the most important experience of my life at the time, because it afforded me the chance to discover the talent I never knew I had. I fell in love with writing; with the whole process of writing: coming up with ideas and organizing them, taking out the things that don’t work and replacing them with things that do. It’s maddeningly draining, but its worth it to read a thoughtful, well-structured page of language and know that I’m responsible for creating it. It’s spiritual in a way, giving a piece of yourself to bring something into being that didn’t previously exist; it fills me with the kind of joy more typically reserved for holymen who, after constant focus and sacrifice have achieved communion with the divine. And really what is art if not a way for us mere mortals to recieve just the smallest taste of the powers of the gods, the ability to recreate the world through our own eyes, or even make an entirely new one. Without even meaning to, I found my passion; I found the one thing in the world that means so much to me, I can’t imagine a life for myself without it.
People tell me I’m not realistic, but I don’t care. Writing is what I love, and I’m prepared to commit myself in whatever ways I need to in order to make my dreams the truth.