It started when I was nine. A blank paper was so irritating to me, something needed to be done. And when I stared at it long enough, it would speak to me. It would tell me to write. And I, submissively, felt hungry for writing. That was when I started to express my interest in vocabulary. My English teacher used to tell me I was excellent in spelling.
I never got myself to do it, though. I never got myself to write.
Or maybe it started some time before that, I don’t know. My memory seems to attach my childhood to the age of nine. Before that is vague. I am sure about one thing, though, that I started writing letters earlier than that.
Also, I started talking to God from an early age. I kept that as a secret, but I’ve glided from there.
The irritation magnified when I turned twelve. But I remember one night something whispered, “write.” Everything in my body responded to that, and my pen felt friendly between my fingers. I started with simple, unsophisticated words. But it was everything.
I used to shred the papers after writing because it felt like a secret to me. Until, one day, I confronted myself and documented 3 significant nights;
The first one, 9th of October, 2004: based on absolutely nothing, I was anticipating a disaster.
The second, 10th of October, 2004 how the storm arrived, and it was my father’s sudden death.
The third, 11th of October, the aftermath of destruction inside, utter silence; where did all the noise go?
I’ve shredded those papers a while ago too, the detailed remains of my memory, because the brain has the power to erase what no longer serves you. And I wanted to let go.
The same notebook of secrets of mine was titled “Letters to Myself,” at the age of 17 after 5 years of plain “Letters.”
Then word by word, I was growing up and expanding vertically, and horizontally. I started publishing here and there. With a push from the people I love, and myself, I’ve summoned the courage to write about sunsets and love. I finally started to understand and admire what I saw in the mirror.
At the age of 24, I still write letters to myself, and the people I love. I also understand that the blankness of papers in its sublimity is nothing like people. You can’t write them the way you want. You can’t change them. They come, in their complex creation; a combination of a past you know nothing about, and a result of insecurities and fragilities caused by that past. They are already written, volume after volume. Rarely do they come with illustrative explanations.
It’s either you love them the way they are, or leave. You can’t write people like poetry.
Artwork: Light From the Beginning of Time, by Kenny Callicutt