There are crevices of this place that I’ve yet to explore. Tumbled buildings and moss hide around the corners of the concrete and plastics. Apartment blocks rise up like giants looking down on the shadows of their past. Left to my own devices, this city could become anything to me. The horrors, the mysteries. The irony of finding myself to be less alone when there is nobody around me but old bricks, trees and history.
Sometimes it feels as though I am dreaming, like I see everything but nothing I do would change it. People and cars rush past. I wonder if they’d notice if I spoke, touched, reached out, jumped into the road as if nothing could hurt me. And yet I think these streets can feel me; they breathe with a life of their own. Every step I take makes me a part of them and their story. They will remember me long after I am gone, tiny particles of my DNA engrained within the cracks of the cobblestones. When night draws in its breath to sigh across the world, I wonder if any part of me remains within the memories of people with whom my path has crossed. Am I gone? Like the wind – the air, always there but rarely noticed. Am I traced upon people’s faces, written into their lives?
People are not like bricks and mortar. There are fragments of buildings in this city that have stood for years, and will stand for years more. But lives change. Memories die like summer blossoms. Feelings fade as fast as the writing on a wall when the rain comes. We must make our mark while we can, leave something behind so we are not nothing. Paper, words blowing in the wind, a photograph, a thought, like a message in a bottle from when we called this place home. And then we are not gone.
During my first few weeks at university, I have had so many things to do and think about, and I’m happy to have had the chance to channel this into writing. As part of my homework for my course, I was asked to begin writing a daily journal. I’ve found this really fun, and beneficial in that it makes me write something every day. Below I’ve shared one of my journal entries 🙂
The hum of traffic fills my ears. My brain is tired of processing and filtering all of the information from the day. People rush past, and I need to be on my way, but just for a moment I stand there. Still.
Everything continues around me. Traffic and people hurtle past, all on their way to somewhere, part of a story into which I can gain only a glimpse. It feels wrong to stand here doing nothing in such a busy world. Even though it’s getting dark the city still feels so alive. Lights illuminate everything, blurring the distinction between night and day, and I wonder if this place ever sleeps. I look up to the sky – the colour of my mistakes, my grief streaked in a clouded white stripe along the horizon. But this is not the place for regret.
It seems like history has outlined itself in the silhouetted shadows of every building around me. In every brick, every corner, every face of each person passing, I am reminded of things that were, things that are, things that could have been. Everything has played a part in bringing me to now. Here, in the grimy puddles at the edge of the roadside, I am reminded that I have a choice. For once in my life I don’t turn in uncertainty to glance at who stands beside me at the kerb. I no longer think with impending doom that here, with my toes inches from the tyres grinding against the road, I am one step from my fate.
I can choose to move when I want to, to cross when I’m ready. I cannot be beckoned by someone on the other side, nor pushed by someone behind me. That’s the beauty of being alone. This is not loneliness any longer, but the freedom to be solitary and be content with it.
People will ask my why I write; I suppose I’ll say it’s because I enjoy it. Or maybe because of the hope that, one day far in the future, I may glean some semblance of success from what I do. But this only provides an answer to the question. It does not provide the truth. You see, the thing is, I don’t write to answer questions – or not to answer anyone else’s at least. I write because, when I feel joy, writing it down is the only real way I can capture and contain that feeling, like fireflies in a jar, to admire again when the darkness creeps in.
I write, because when the darkness does come, the words are all I have left. They are the only things that understand. Because words do not feel hurt, they only channel it; and I’ll let all of the pain and the hurting be taken up by the page in inky tears. Because at times, that is the only outlet it has left.
I write, because longing is not a need that can be described in any other way, unless you feel it. The words know how it feels, that burning desire to reach the end of the page, to carry on and on into forever. They understand loving too. They are the best way I have found to free it, to show it, when there is nothing here to love but the blank sheet in front of me. And hatred, that too has found its way into the words. Anger which, if spoken, would leave me burning, but which on the page leaves only a trace. A whisper in the peaceful silence.
My point is, I do not write for anybody else, nor because I feel I have to. I write for myself, because it makes me feel alive, and because I believe that words have a life far more meaningful and enduring that ours. So next time someone asks me why I write, I will just smile, knowing that these pages hold the truths which cannot always be heard.
Pataphor is a technique in which a metaphor is treated as if it were literal. My take on pataphorical writing is below:
My heart is a burnt book
My heart lies on the ground at my feet. I kneel down and gently brush its charred cover with my fingertips. The edges of the pages are as black as my future now that all which was once inside of me has been destroyed. I remember when the pages of my heart were new, the paper clean, white, unspoiled. The story was easy to read then. Now I will never get to find out the ending. The concluding chapter of my story lies burnt before me. And I can’t get rid of the ache in my chest, like someone tore a hole within me, ripped me apart. As I lift my heart up gingerly, the pages begin to flake and crumble, and the tiny remaining shreds of me dissipate into the air to be carried off by wind.
So a few weeks ago, I decided I would try and write something, anything, every day. I have to say I’ve surprised myself with how easily the words have come to me. The effort only comes in having the motivation to sit down with the intention to write. The writing isn’t the difficult part.
It has been difficult, in between a busy sixth form timetable and emotional ups and down, to motivate myself to write, and to post on my blog. I think part of the problem is that I become overly concerned with the quality of the writing.
Words, I think, are almost like water, and if you stop writing they stop flowing. Regardless of how good the relationship between the words is, you need to be committed to keeping the writing going, even when it seems like it’s going nowhere.
I’m currently in the process of deciding which university I want to go to next year, so I have been attending lots of uni open days. At each one, I have listened to a talk about the creative writing course, and a universal message seems to be that, in order to be a good writer, you should write something every day. It doesn’t matter what, or for how long, as long as you write something, anything.
So, I decided that I need to make a habit of writing so that it comes more easily. Also, I want to post more regularly on my blog, so I figured, why not post a daily blog entry? I may not manage daily, as I’m under a lot of pressure at sixth form right now, but I am determined to try and write as often as I can…