Ever since I was a little girl I had dreams of achieving something with my life. Going to university, having a job and all. But what I would do or study kept changing as I grew up. Because by the time I was in high school the civil war had started in the country and as such, things changed for us, for me. However, I also had one dream that stayed with me throughout all these years. The dream of becoming a writer. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote:
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Somehow throughout all these years I still believe in my dream. Have I made money from my writing? No. Why do I do it then? Why do I write? I remember sometime last year, long before my husband passed away, I did something very stupid. I say this not with pride, not with shame, but with deep regret. I decided to take a day off from writing.
The problem with me is that I wake up early. On most mornings by five o’clock I am already halfway through my coffee and well into my writing. But on this particular Monday I woke up early and instead of writing I was determined to finish reading the book that I had started. I remember the book I was reading then was Starburst by Robin Pilcher. Although it was an interesting book, it was kind of slow, especially in the beginning. It was the kind of book that if you skip a line or two you don’t have to go back and reread them, for the story continues.
I remember not long after into my reading I was ready to give up and start writing. I was kind of upset and feeling guilty. Here I was reading a book that I did not like much, feeling that I was wasting time during which I should be writing instead. But I kept on reading.
By noon I had not progressed much with the book, my head had started to ache and I was feeling jittery. I grew uneasy. But I didn’t write. I spent the afternoon on the phone with my friends and still my mood didn’t improve.
I went to bed early at around eleven and I tossed and turned. I felt sick, I felt every muscle in my body ache. I felt breathless, my heart was pounding in my chest. The more I tried to close my eyes, the more awake I felt. I thought of switching the light on and going to my writing corner but I resisted. I spent the night sleeping on and off until I got up a little before five and with a mug of coffee I sat at my desk and started writing. I was normal again, I could breathe.
Writing for me then is a cure. It is my therapy. I write to keep the pains and sufferings in this world from sickening me. It is my survival kit. Even if it’s one hour in the morning. I write to hide from the truth, my truth, my reality. My losses and fears somehow become endurable when I write. I write to forget. But mostly I write to find and understand myself. In the words of Roger Rosenblatt:
“Why do we write?
To make suffering endurable
To make evil intelligible
To make justice desirable
and … to make love possible”