So, my relationship with writing has been changing.
In case it wasn’t clear before, I used to have serious daydreams about writing short stories and (once I improved enough as a writer) novels for a living. I also had a significant interest in STEM too, of course, but I was worried that a move towards that field would be sacrificing my Dream of being a Writer™; I was worried I would be one of the many sad gray souls that chooses the “safe” option over something risky.
Shit changed in college though. Basically, I realized that I really love Biology. I took BIOL121 and was the only kid I know who considered it her favorite class (despite my lackluster grade!) Something about nerdy shit like cell division and alternative splicing just sets my blood on fire, I’m not joking. I realized that I could enter this field with genuine passion; pursuing Biology no longer felt like a duller “second choice” for me.
On the other hand, nothing really turned me off from writing — it’s just that most of my story ideas were about high school, and attending college made me realize that high school is really fucking dumb. I felt like all my tantalizing story leads were vacuumed up or neutered, and I had a curious case of writers block for the first time in a while.
But, at the same time, not really. Because I wrote frequently in my journal, more than I ever had before. And my number of blog posts increased. I carry around a tiny purple notebook to jot down good overheard quotes. In a time of profound change, I turned to writing more ardently than ever before, just in a more private sense. I’ve become closely acquainted with my personal voice; ideas in my head translate onto paper more easily.
Perhaps college razed down my “garden of story ideas” mostly focused on young teenage love and adolescence. The garden seems empty now. But maybe fire only nourishes the soil with ashes of the past — and preserves the roots underneath. But maybe seeds are germinating below the surface, and one day soon I’ll have a forest of mature ideas to tend to.
I hope that’s the case, because the current events in my life really taste like future stories, with a bit of hindsight and incubation. But I also find myself surprisingly comfortable with the possibility that I won’t be an avid story writer as I used to be. I’m blessed to have many things that excite me, I’m no longer worried about choosing a boring “safe choice” for a living, and I’m no longer afraid of “losing” my love for writing. Even when I’m not seriously plotting fiction, writing has always been there for my personal emotional needs, and I’m now certain that it will always be there for me, whether it’s journal posts that no one will read or blog posts that the Internet will see.
I remember in the beginning of last semester, a (cute) boy asked me if I had plans to publish anything I wrote. I replied, easily, no — to be honest, nothing I’ve written yet feels mature enough to petition the world for attention. That fact used to bother me, but I’m comfortable with it now. After all, how many great authors do you know had their shit together at the age of nineteen? I’ve only experienced a fraction of life and what it has to offer, after all. I would love to write and publish something in the future, but I’m not going to push it. For now, I’ll collect memories, absorb new experiences, and nurture my voice in the pages of my journal. I’ll grow my thoughts into something that people will want to read.
I’ve realized that you don’t need to be published — or even publishing — or even trying to publish — to be a writer. I’m at a coffeeshop and I’m discreetly jotting down the conversation of two friends next to me. I’m in my bed and verbalizing my complicated feelings on a laptop screen. I’m sitting quietly on a fire escape, alone, thinking about how everything in my life connects like a story, which in turn links with everyone else’s. I’ll always be a writer in my soul.