No Passing Phase

PJ Fitzgerald Learns to Write

I don’t “want to be” a writer. Rather, I was called to be one. A long, long time ago the sky opened up, and a wire-bound journal dropped from the heavens. The word “Write.”, written just like that, an improper sentence, a command of sorts, was inscribed on the inside cover. I keep it in a box under my bed. Whenever I question if this life of writing is truly meant for me, I take it out and I look at the poems and stories I wrote as a child. My handwriting big and curling, my illustrations done in Crayola marker. All doubt vanishes. I am meant for this.

I don’t plan to study writing, though. I suppose there are schools of writing and books about writing, but writing is not a race you can train for. There’s no check-list you can memorize and master. It’s personal. It’s emotional, hyper-emotional. It’s listening to the way your heart beats and transcribing what you hear. It’s learning how to be honest, because the best writing is the kind that comes out raw. Textual sashimi. It’s art. It’s passion. It’s a way of life.

If I thought I had a choice in the matter, I would want to be something different. I would want to be a sailor, a lesbian drummer in a punk band, a figure skater, or a monk in Nepal. But I accept that I am not any of these, nor one thousand other possibilities. For me, the writing is on the wall. And on the floor. And on random desks and tables. And on bar napkins and business cards. And on the back of my hand. And on index cards scattered in every corner of my life. This isn’t a hobby, no passing phase. This is who I am and what I do. All I can do is sit back with my fingers on the keyboard and pray that we don’t run out of combinations of words, that ideas still flow into me and ebb out of me, that we don’t let this art die.

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