Writing was always my Achilles’ heel, something I had to do, but it always took me down. In school, my teachers were all just content with telling me to look elsewhere skill-set wise. But now, my writing skills have transformed from my greatest weakness into my strongest weapon. And in 2020 it’s become even stronger.
My path to writing started in IB, when my English teacher finally recognised the stories I could tell, worked with and encouraged me to write anything from scripts to essays. And by the end of my first year at Durham, the foundation she gave me led to remarkable results. I am proud of myself, because it took me putting in the time, but nothing I can do today can be done without thanking her.
My creative writing path, however, started on rough terrain. During my first year and an especially hard time in my life, my therapist recommended I keep a journal through the week to monitor my feelings. But, as the time persisted, the senseless scrawlings turned into, at times, macabre poetry. The medium helped me escape the hole I’d dug for myself, the words building a sturdy ladder. However, without the downs, I felt nothing to write about, to write for. And thus, I became dormant for one year more.
Now, something you’ve probably already figured out if you’ve read this far is, I am dramatic. I know and won’t apologise for adding flavour to my life through hyperboles of words. Ah, hyperboles, the one literary device I never got wrong. It’s been my good friend these last few years. So, when that writing itch came back at the end of summer, no amount of self-doubt could keep it away. It was like a gnat, that just would not die. Alas, I had to try and that I did, I began writing for the student papers, any column I could try, just looking for something to stick. And like honey, food did. I began writing so many food articles, that I might have been half the bylines published in the section last year. I’d weave together recipes with time and compassion, trying to share my passion with all. But I loved the other sections too, Creative Writing allowed me to foster my poetry and even try short stories, and, by lockdown I was a creative writing machine.
When my second year ended and summer began, my mind started to wander with long lost stories inside my head longing to be let out. I was a storyteller as a child, still am one now. But before, the words wouldn’t be written nicely, even speaking them was a difficulty. But I decided to finally put pen to paper and begin. And with those freed from my head, the real work began. This summer I did something I never thought I would be able to, write prose. Poetry was short and easy, mathematical in a way. Scripts had been conversations I simply transcribed.
But I have begun to draw and create worlds where my heroes defy odds and stand in for representation I did not have. I’ve started books now, with plans for more. I take my degree, which I love, and I weave it in to make stories unlike others. Ones which care about all cultures, ones which will hopefully be as hopeful to someone else as they are to me. I write for me, but when I saw a comment on A03 – where I had published a short story – saying they had cried with me, I knew my heel was healed, and my pen sharpened.
Write – Write – Write.
It seems to be my life.
Always another essay due, gosh it’s exhausting.
I wonder how people actually enjoy this?
Stories – Tales – Information.
Jumbled up in my head.
Too much to speak, and lost immediately.
And no one seems to want to listen.
My therapist says I should write…I don’t know.
I was told I’d never be good at that.
Oh gods, this is freeing.
What started as a journal has morphed into poetry.
Sad – Emotive – Beautiful.
I’ll stick with this.
Short and Simple.
Maybe, I’ll write a review or two.
Maybe some recipes. Yes, this is easy.
Stories are still stuck in my head…
Covid – Isolation – Hyperfixation.
There’s more to the story.
I can’t get it out of my head.
I finally write tales so long.
I cry as I write.
I feel their pain and their pleasure.
Write – Pain – Pleasure.
I re-read and woah.
I like it.
It’s not bad.
I share it.
I think no one will read it.
Someone comments: you made me cry too.
Keep telling tales.
One year has passed.
I write the stories that need to be told.
Book – Play – Poem.
Illustration: Alicja Sęk