I am a Writer.
I will always have ink on my;
“Gib pn! Gib pn!” I squealed. My mother stopped furiously writing in her notebook and stared at me.
“You want the pen?” she queried, waggling it back and forth between her thumb and index finger. I responded by stretching toward the pen and squeezing the air with my chubby, two-year-old hands.
Then, with some sort of mix between a smile and a laugh, my mother handed me the pen she had been scribbling with. The pen was simple. One of those cheap, clear ballpoints that is purchased in no less than a five pack – what a deal. But, I could see the backbone of blue ink in the center, and it was magic. As soon as the nerves of my hand felt the form of the pen I gleefully shrieked, ran to where my Disney Princess coloring book laid open, and began scribbling symbols right over Ariel’s head. Don’t worry; she looked better with words anyways. Everything looked more beautiful with words.
I lay belly down on the carpet for what felt like hours and I just wrote. Granted, what I was ‘writing’ represented nothing more than random lines and circles, but to me, to me I was practicing the English language. I didn’t quite understand it yet, but ink would become the prescription lens through which I experienced my world.
A few years later my mom found me scrunched down in a hallway, notebook and pen in my lap, talking to what apparently seemed to be myself.
“What are you doing, Honey?”
“I’m talking to the walls.” I responded to her as if it was as natural as telling her what was on the television. It was.
My mother then sat next to me on the floor. “Oh? And what are you telling them?”
“A story. One about the trees in our yard. I saw a squirrel.” I had by now learned that coloring books were not the choicest of mediums to write on. My fluffy, pink diary (with matching pink, fluffy pen) was much better. No pictures to compete with my symbols. I had developed a routine in which I would bring my diary with me, somewhere, write down a story, and then I would recite it to the walls. I liked talking to the walls. They were like giant, white sheets of clean paper just waiting for a story all their own. I had often been tempted to write on the walls, but I never did. I knew my mom would not approve. “Mom, why can’t walls talk?”
“Well, because they are not alive.”
“Oh.” I was unsatisfied with that answer, but I continued to tell the wall my story as my mother sat next to me listening. Believing that the walls could hear me, led me to sincerely believe that stories had the power to bring an inanimate object to life. Ink took the form of a soul and a story created life in the form of words. If an inanimate ‘thing’ only needed stories to be alive, then all I needed to live for were stories. My veins flowed with ink.
Ink is felt, heard, seen, tasted and touched, and it is solely through the art of reading that a person can learn to write. Once I had become more advanced in the English language I spent my days reading everything. I began by carefully reading every word on the cereal box of choice as I spooned its contents into my mouth – I would have read the milk carton too, but Mom said milk would spoil if she left it out. I continued my daily reading frenzy by analyzing passing signs from the back seat of the car, and when there were no signs to read I would open whatever book I had packed along. I starved for the comfort of ink. I could not understand my world without it. I read, because it taught me how to write. If I was angry, I wrote. If I was happy, I wrote. If I was sad, I wrote. If I was confused, I wrote. It is how I survived the plague of puberty, and continue to survive in the mendacity of adulthood.
With every passing day of my life, emotions became more difficult to convey – especially in high school. I began to question the very meaning of speech. How could saying, “I love you” really convey that love? How could vocalizing, “I’m sorry” really mean anything? And, what about goodbye? Did everything really resolve after speaking those words? No. I decided no. There needed to be more than just a verbal contract. There needed to by honesty and clarity – no room for forgotten words or tonal misunderstandings. My feelings, my humanity, my sincerity demanded record. I remember this decision in my life resulted after I had hurt my mother’s feelings. We had always been very close, but one day, in hormonal confusion, I had said something cruel – something I didn’t mean. Later that day, I came to her like a dog with its tail tucked between its legs. I womaned up, and I apologized. “I am sorry I hurt you, Mom.”
“Oh Honey, it’s okay. I forgive you.”
I felt no relief. No sigh escaped my chest. The weight of my regrets was strangling the air from my lungs. I panicked. How do I fix this? What if she hates me? My voice isn’t enough. So, I grabbed a yellow sticky-note and I wrote,
Mom, I am sorry that I said some mean things to you.
You do not have to bake cookies with me anymore.
I stuck the note on her door. Atonement. The weight lifted off my heart. I had done it. I had figured out the secret to life. If I wrote, if I recorded my thoughts, dreams, and feelings, for others, and myself, I could live without regrets. I could find peace. I could achieve what few ever could – Happiness. From that day on, I always wrote people notes. It began with sticky notes and evolved into letters. I wrote words of apology, anger, negotiation and love. It was so easy to be honest on paper.
So, at the age of two, I knew that writing would be my compass with which to navigate the world. I would peer inside a well of ink and disappear along with my nib. I fell in love with reading and writing everything. My heart became an inkwell and my mind the quill – they gave me a writer’s prescription.