I moved to the US from Europe when I was six. This is the VW bus I spent a lot of my childhood in, driving around with my little brother Chris. I went to nine schools in eleven years, skipped a grade, and lived in a bunch of states.
I began writing because I got too full to hold everything in. I tried. Went for years without any outlet except some occasional extravagant baking. I can’t cut straight, can’t so much as draw a stick figure. My hands are useless for fine art. Writing sometimes isn’t much better.
When asked what his favorite part of writing was, I once heard an John Green say, “having written.”
When the words go from thought to hand to screen, something is released. It’s a grapple. What comes out is often weakness and pain. Faced with my own limitations the writing winds up being a matter of patience and tenacity, striking a balance between taming something and giving it room to breathe.
I am grossly imbalanced.
Like I said. Can’t build. Can’t science. Can’t sing.
What I can do is remember. I remember exactly what it was like to be a teenager. I can feel in my bones what it was like to love a boy who didn’t love me back, the first betrayal wedged in my belly, the friendships that were simultaneously malignantly tumorous and blessings of flickering, ecstatic light. Everything filtering in extremes of bright and dark.
Maybe someday I’ll write adult lit. Like, if my inner chatter stops being 16. For now, though, this is what I connect to, and I’m grateful for it every day.
When I’m too full and I need to let something out, when thoughts exit through my fingers and appear on the page, even with all the difficulty, even in the fight, there is major relief. I don’t have a plan B. I hope I get to do this for the rest of my life.