“There’s no such thing as a perfect piece of writing or poetry for that matter. Just as there’s no such thing as perfect despair.” So said a poet friend of mine I knew back in my adolescent years. He’s no longer with us on this spun little sphere. Well not in the physical sense. I miss him, more now than I did then. He was awfully real in a forsaken world full of fake.
It wasn’t until recently that I could grasp his full meaning, but even back then I found solace in his advice—there is no such thing as writing with perfection.
All the same, I quailed whenever I sat down to write. The scope of what I could handle was just too limited. I could write all day about the elephant in the room, so to say, but when it came to the elephant’s trainer, I was prone to draw a blank. Writing needs that kind of built-in accessory of a subplot, wouldn’t you think?
I have been caught in the web of this particular writing bind for quite sometime—twenty plus years to be exact. Now color me crazy all you would like, but that is a very long time.
If one operates on the principle that everything that happens to us can be considered a learning experience, then of course life needn’t be so damned painful. That’s what they tell us, anyway. Life though, has a way of letting pain dictate the steps in which we take.
From the day since I have picked up this pen, time and time again, I have done my best to live according to that philosophy. As I result, I have been swindled and misjudged, used and abused, day in and day out. I am though, one hundred percent guilty of doing the same, if not worse, to others. I have also done my fair share of returning these favors, in my own shameful way.
And yet still, it has brought about many strange, distorted, and wonderful experiences. All sorts of people have told me their stories, some I’ve tried to figure out on my own accord. Then they left, never to return, as if I were no more than a bridge they were crawling across to get to where they were so desperate to go.
I, however, have kept my mouth sealed shut. And so these stories have stayed with me over the years until I have found myself sitting here today, walking out, not necessarily wound free, but happily, from my very own existential crisis.
The time though, has come to shake it all off and tell my story.
This doesn’t mean, by any means, that I have resolved even a single one of my problems, or that I will be somehow different when I finish. There is a very good chance I haven’t changed at all.
In the end, writing is not always an overeager step toward self-healing, it is in my opinion, an infinitesimal step, a very exploratory move in said direction of promise. But in order to get to where I am to be—with writing I must lean into honesty.
All the same, writing with the bittersweet taste of honesty is very grim. The more I start to write honest with myself and my words, the farther we may slip into darkness, but of the dark, it is true, the only way out is through.
Don’t take this as an excuse. I promise you—I’ve been telling the story as best I have known how, and this I will continue to do. But there will always be more to add to it.
A story, like life, is much like a tree. Branches grow, and branches must be cleared. They keep growing and you must keep trimming. Some will branch out farther than you could imagine, and those are sometimes better off left to grow.
I can’t help thinking with hints of confidence—if all goes well, a time may come, years or even decades from now, when I will come to discover that my self was somehow salvaged and redeemed from these articles of my life.
The elephant in the room will then return to the veldt, and it is of my hope, that I may tell the story of the world through my very own eyes with words far more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
So with that being said, sit back, relax, and settle on in.
It’s time this story begins.