I know it’s a little early to get all emotional about graduation, but with only one semester left, I’ve been in denial recently. (To be honest, I think I’ve been in denial since freshman year.) There are many things I hate about being a writer — the fear, the uncertainty, that second wave of fear you thought wouldn’t be there after you tackled the first bout. But the good always outweighs the bad because, well, it has to.
With fear comes confidence. With writer’s block and frustration comes unbelievable moments of inspiration — ones sweet like pearls of sugar you let dissolve on the tip of your tongue. You enjoy them slowly, let them linger as long as you can. It’s this sweetness — the high of enlightenment, of creative madness and maddened creativity — that I treasure most about being a writer. And you all inspire me. You all get it.
There have been many times during my writing classes where I’ve been so moved by something someone has shared, that I have goose bumps. Not the baby kind — the ones that barely freckle the surface of your skin — but the kind you feel like radio waves rippling down the length of your limbs in spikes that sting your insides. You feel, and I mean really feel. I think writers wear these goose bumps on a day-to-day basis, that’s how emotional we get. We never know when the next wave will hit because inspiration comes even when we're not with fellow writers. Often times we're inspired randomly, like in the shower mid-Pantene or on grocery store checkout lines or during horribly awkward Tinder dates. It's true.
I admire the courage of someone who says “f*ck it” and talks about something they’re not quite sure they should share. Something like a battered past. Hell, it takes courage to even talk about the happy parts of our lives — to talk at all for that matter. In every writing class I've taken, professors always assure us that we’re in a “safe zone.” No one will judge us, harm us or criticize us in this space. It’s like we undergo intense therapy during these hours spent together.
When we workshop each other's writing, we're not just critiquing fiction, personal essays or poetry, we're experiencing each other's lives. We're learning each other's secrets, getting a glimpse into minds touched by so few, kept sacred by most. We encourage each other with our words and our craft — and to me, that's beautiful. The best part is that it continues outside of the classroom. We take away perspective and can keep the advice we’re given in our pockets for later, for moments when we doubt ourselves.
I like to think of us all as marbles, protected by hard, shiny shells yet translucent, exposed so that our insides show. It takes a lot to share so much about ourselves — the good, the bad and the pure ugly. I don't know about you, but I’m emotionally drained half the time I walk out of these classes because being raw comes with a price (it's no wonder we'd rather hide under our layers most of the time). We hear stories about family traumas, abusive lovers and mental illness. And it’s in these classes, together, where we grow and thrive.
Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for your strength and your candid honesty. You all really are the most inspirational, wonderfully unique, (don’t forget weird) badass people I know. It takes a soldier to be a writer — and you all make me believe in the durability of my armor.