The last eight days have been exhausting. Today as I was clocking out at work I realized that I just couldn’t do anymore. I had classes today, but the thought of going home, packing my books, and going to campus was just too much. Instead I came home and crashed. That was 8:00 AM; already, I’m awake.
I have been since noon.
On my lunch break last night (can it really be called a lunch break at 2:00 AM?) I walked to Walgreen’s and bought a new hardback journal. I needed two book mailers to send out copies of my latest book to my new acquaintance, Irete Kazo (author of “The Accidental Santera”). The hardback journal was there, lying beside the envelopes. Someone had picked it up and put it back down in the wrong place. I picked it up and thumbed through the pages decorated with black and white line drawings of vines.
It left the store with me, and it was on sale for $5.99 – one of their discontinued items normally sold for $12.99. A bargain!
For years I’ve been journaling on my computer, typing words away in secret, password protected files that will die with me unless someone somewhere can figure out my codes. I don’t think I’ve handwritten a journal since I was a teenager, and those were always bad ideas living in a house with two younger sisters and two overbearing parents. And while computer journals have been great for recording day-to-day life, they’re all lacking one thing – creativity. I’ve never felt inspired to capture story ideas in their pages. I write hundreds of thousands of words every year between my professional writing, my private journals, my notes, and my blogs – but there is an element of creativity lacking that I can only describe as . . . well . . . I can’t find the word. Perhaps the computer is too stifling for working random thoughts into pieces of literature and fiction.
So today I sat down with my new hardback journal and started writing out all the story ideas I have in my head, one a modern contemporary piece based on a patakí, and five contemporary pieces dealing with gay issues. As I wrote the ideas flowed naturally – there is something far more natural about journaling with paper and pen as opposed to bits and bytes. After an hour and a half of writing, I discovered that the stories I’ve wanted to write for a more contemporary audience have always been right there.
They just needed ink to bring them out.
So after years of computer journaling I’ve again become a fan of paper and pen. A day meant to do nothing has already become a productive day – and while I’m sure my other professors won’t be happy that I skipped class for this, I’m sure my Creative Writing I professor will agree that today had a deeper, creative and spiritual purpose – I needed downtime to connect and create.
History repeats itself. My goal in coming back to college again was to work on my bachelor degree in nursing, but everything I do drives me back to writing. Maybe I’m just being hardheaded – maybe I should give up and listen to my professors, my heart, and Oyá. Maybe all I’m ever meant to be is a writer, and if this is my ashé, I have no choice but to go with it.
Talent should never be wasted.