Writing is Life

As is the case with most writers, I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember. When I was in elementary school, I would sit in from of our old desktop computer with a blank Word document and try to churn out stories. My first one was about two talking dogs, which is funny, because I didn’t have a dog until I was an adult. More proof that my imagination used to run away with me, I guess. From there, it didn’t take long for my American Girl dolls to become the main characters in all stories I wrote, for middle school and troubles with friends to take the forefront. I’ve always figured that’s why I’ve kept writing—I need a place to work through things that are happening in my life.

This is probably going to sound like a cliché for an introverted writer, but I never had the easiest time in school. I had friends, but I seemed to cycle through them—no one stuck around. Maybe I came on too strong, or maybe I wasn’t cool enough. It doesn’t really matter anymore. But I’ve always felt like everyone hated me, and I needed a place to channel that feeling of isolation. (Yes, I understand now that this is entirely irrational, but when you’re 13 or so, that’s how it feels.)

So I wrote. I wrote and I wrote and it helped me get through all of the crap that was thrown at me. That hasn’t changed.

When I was in college, I took my first creative writing class, hoping to learn some technique in order to hone this craft that I’ve always participated in. When I had trouble with a boyfriend, I wrote. When I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, I wrote. When I started to feel the cold fingers of seasonal depression creep in, I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote.

These days, I’m still writing regularly, but the reasons are different. I have a pretty stable life, a husband, and solid friendships. I’m not using writing to cope with personal issues anymore—I’m trying to tackle bigger things.  The first scene I wrote for Something Beautiful stemmed from anger—I had just attended a rally that I didn’t feel like should have needed to happen. It was a rally in support of marriage equality, which was being threatened in my home state at the time. I wanted to tackle what was considered normal without even knowing how to describe that. So I wrote two main characters—one who suffers from depression that is crippling at times, and one whose sexuality is as dynamic as the weather, as changing tides. They’re complex characters, deeply flawed characters, and I needed to write them as much as I need to breathe. And I’m not done. I’m mad about so many things in the world still—racism, sexism, the misconceptions about immigrants and refugees. Not only that, but I’m finally embracing my own identity as a biracial Latina. I have so much more that I want to write. I’m not even close to being done.

I write because I need it. It’s like air, like oxygen. I write to deal with the complexities of life, and love, and hate, and fear. Writing is my lifeblood, and has been for as long as I can remember.