so, you want to love a writer

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“You must stay drunk on writing so that reality cannot destroy you.” -Ray Bradbury

So, you want to love a writer. Are you sure?

You know how they say we wake up in the middle of the night to write things down? That’s true. Do you feel like dealing with that? Will you get annoyed when you look over at us in the darkened room as we type furiously in the notes section of our phones?

We also have to pause at certain moments when we come across the perfect word or phrase. We’ll stop in the middle of the sidewalk or a conversation just to make sure we remember it perfectly. We’ll repeat what you said over in our head about 1,000 times. Okay?

We’ll get quiet and you’ll wonder why. You’ll want to pry open our minds to see what we’re thinking about. But saying things out loud is hard for us- give us a pen and we’ll be able to work out our feelings eventually. Anything we say of any consequence regarding our feelings will be painful because to us it’ll feel incomplete. And that’s because-

We edit. Compulsively. Text messages, tweets. It physically pains us to see that cafe sign on the street with “biscotti” misspelled. The words we use are important to us, and we think they should be important to you, too. Will that drive you crazy?

If you break our heart, watch out. The only way we know to deal with our feelings is to release them through our fingers. If you’re lucky, they’ll end up in a Moleskine notebook in our bedside drawer. If you’re unlucky, they’ll end up on the Internet and all of our mutual friends will find out just how painful that conversation was. Are you willing to take that risk?

We’ll randomly quote books or movies and judge you if you fail to catch the reference. If you don’t catch it, we’ll give you the book to read or the movie to borrow. You’ll wonder if half the things we say are stolen, and they might be. You’ll have to compete for our attention with fictional characters and figments of imagination. Can you?

We’ll want to travel. We’ll want to see new places and meet new people and find new things to write about. We’d rather buy a plane or train ticket than a new watch or purse. Our money goes to concerts and plays and cafes and pubs. Is that okay with you?

We’ll spend hours scribbling or typing and we might not want to share what we’ve just spent all day working on with you, not yet. Nothing we write is ever just words to us. It’s a piece of our soul, and sometimes we have to be careful about who we let see it. Alright?

We’re quirky and confusing and annoying as hell. We get lost in thought more than we get lost on the subway. We’ll get restless and lonely and existential and introspective. We’ll pull you endlessly into museums and bookstores and coffee shops and sometimes expect you to talk all day and other times not to say a word.

So. You want to love a writer?

seeking scars

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“I don’t want to die without any scars.” -Chuck Palahniuk,Β Fight Club

I think most people are too careful about the way they tackle life. They’re afraid of getting hurt, of being scarred. They tiptoe around the perimeter, walk on eggshells, hop over the cracks in the sidewalk.

I’ve got plenty of scars, and I’m not sorry. Some are visible. The one my cat gave me over winter break that has resulted in a few concerned questions because of its unfortunate location. The one on my knee from Girl Scout camp when I was 9.

Some are invisible. The ones left in my mind by the person who hurt me more than I care to admit years ago, the ones that took too long to live with. The ones in my heart caused by people I loved being ripped out of my life, both expectedly and unexpectedly.

Other ones caused by new people crashing into it, in the best and worst ways possible.

Some scars come in memories and dreams, continuing to leave their mark many years later. Photographs leave more than paper cuts as they dredge up the bittersweetness of what used to be. Nightmares haunt waking hours with what could have been and what almost was.

Getting hurt sucks. The process of acquiring scars is painful, but scars have a bad rep I don’t think they deserve. People don’t like scars because they ruin the perfect picture of a perfect life. They remind us that we’ve been in dark places; scars won’t let us forget our past.

But, should we? Should I forget that someone destroyed my heart or that it hurt when I lost someone? Can we ever really forget where we’ve been? The things that give you scars are, many times, the things that help you grow. I’d rather be reminded.

We’re too focused on living flawless-looking lives that we’re afraid of even the tiniest of scratches. The threat of imperfection becomes too much to bear. Taking risks becomes taboo to the point where I wonder if we’re living at all.

What’s the point of being alive if you’re not going to at least try to do something extraordinary, if you’re not going to come out a little beat up?

I’ll never stop seeking scars- not because I’m a masochist, but because I want proof that I took chances and went after life with everything I have. I don’t want to forget where I’ve been; it’s made me who I am. Never getting hurt makes for a pretty dull life story.

Sometimes I think you’re measured by the mess you make.