My mind has been processing in excitable hiccups for a prolonged amount of time now. Nevertheless, I have documented its track via various mediums. Paper napkins, journal(s), backsides of business notes, in between textual spaces, ‘My Documents’, iPhone Notes, innumerable drafts, exasperated coded messages to strangers, mixtapes. But today, today I finally decided to rein it in like a fisherman catching a big ‘un.
Maybe it was because I was reading Stephen King’s On Writing, a book recommended by my academic advisor during my final academic appointment as a U. of Iowa student. While being somewhere between slightly after the middle of the book, I was attacked by an adrenaline rush that was chastising me for not further maintaining what little integrity I have in my possible profession as a writer of sorts some day, especially since I may opt to do English for my grad studies later on. Because this is what I do, have always done, will continue to do, publicly or in private, ever since that day in 1997.
There is a memory I return to often. When, as a slow child of seven, I had slowly picked out the books from the shelf in our old condominium, feeling frustrated that all my other classmates had accomplished the feat of reading but I hadn’t. Some of the books were closed but some were wide-open as they tumbled on the parquet floor. My eyes raced across the letters, not foreign individually, but alien in composite meaning. And then. And, then. And then something happened — it all fell into place.
Heart in mouth, head racing with surmounting excitement, I pulled out more and more books from the shelf with 7 year-old fingers. Breathless, they were falling all over now, illustrations of Rumplestiltskin, The Gingerbread Man, The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I remember the sea of words continuing to confront me still because they remained transfixed there, there, there. My mom walked into the room, astonished to see me reading aloud. The shock on her delicate face. The ability to read had descended itself upon me in one fell swoop and it was glorious. I wanted to drown in its effect, to drive the ability to exhaustion. My life entered another stage; I was no longer illiterate and it felt as if I was given a heightened gift of vision. Fewer moments have been as magical since and I doubt many will match up on as high a level as that.
i can’t pinpoint to the first ever story I read by myself, but I do know that it was in English. I remember it was an Enid Blyton book I’d received a month earlier from a family friend during my birthday party. Maybe that was when I chose the language, or it chose me, to be the shadow for my eventual days, months, years to come. From then on, language soaked itself into all cracks of my life and, for a long while, fixated itself as the only medium I felt most comfortable to communicate in albeit in terrible teenage prose.
Here is the beginning of the cataloguing of more events, a sporadic though hopefully more frequent glimpse of the life and times of Shari, and of many different things I hold dear to the heart. For one, the system in which I work can be a little linear; music makes me want to write. In turn, writing makes me want to live. It doesn’t matter if I’m not always great at it, if it isn’t always immaculate or polished. It sustains me greatly and a lot of times, that is reward enough.
I turned twenty-two last weekend. Things feel more celebratory, less derogatory these days. I refuse to be characteristically weak, to always maintain to try to be a proponent of courage. I am ready to start writing publicly again.
( *On Writing by Stephen King is an incredible book that doesn’t pretend it is encapsulating everything about the art of writing, but is just as brutally honest and giving at the same time. Perhaps that is as good a recommendation I can offer to any. )