For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a writer.
I wanted it so badly that I wrote about being a writer. I told other writers to write about my wanting to be a writer. I convinced myself that now that said writer has written about my wanting to be a writer, I should go forth and write so that the writing of my becoming a writer would be not be rendered fiction.
In fact, when I graduated, my high school newspaper, the equivalent of a poorly constructed ink blot, profiled its top graduates. Per the stereotype of immigrant communities who deeply care about their not living in a cardboard box, everyone wanted to be a doctor, an engineer, or a pharmacist. This girl looked at the profile writer and told her to write about my being a writer. I wanted to write films. I wanted to write books. I wanted to write articles. I wanted to be the Vietnamese American version of Martin Scorsese, Amy Tan, and Katie Couric — except far less Catholic and questionably obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio, Asian and incapable of making metaphors to anything aside dragons, and irritating to the point of aneurysm. And since no one knew what and where the hell a Georgetown University was, no one saw the irony in all of it. Not even me. Well, except my parents who told everyone that I wanted to go to law school and become, essentially, the Governor of Texas.
The writing life that I had dreamed, written, and asked other people to write about on my behalf was given to me in the form of my senior year. I had proposed and was granted an entire year to eat, sleep, think, and shit writing in the form of a thesis. And that I did, every day, for an entire academic year — and experienced the life of a self-important, unnecessarily tortured, highly caffeinated to the point of neuroses wordsmith. It was, apparently, exactly what I wanted.
My entire life was scheduled around the construction of sentences. On Mondays, I would walk to the Starbucks a few blocks away from my apartment and sit on the second floor with my standard glass of iced, black coffee with a shot of, “woe is me, I am an artist” espresso. On a good Monday, I would produce two paragraphs worth of useable prose, to be cleaned by my life mentor/thesis advisor. I would walk into my living room, glowing as if I had cured fucking cancer, and inform my roommates, that I had constructed 15 adequate sentences. My roommates, all of whom were resolving African famine and war in their respective research papers, would look at me as if I were bat shit crazy.
On a bad Monday, I would feel compelled to write a poorly constructed letter to the Starbucks Corporation informing them that their adult contemporary rotation was God awful bullshit and that their repertoire (and my soul) could highly benefit from the musical styling’s of Mariah Carey circa “Always Be My Baby.” I would leave the second floor, high strung from no-prose-progress, and would walk into my living room and play “Always Be My Baby.” The world of writing, it seemed, was one of exceedingly high highs and insanely low lows.
I saw the world in writing — a world of heightened senses and an attention to peculiarities. Mid-project, I experienced, processed, and saw everything in prose — when a leaf fell from a tree, I extrapolated some ridiculous life metaphor from it, immediately translated the appearance of the leaf into a series of adjective ridden, multiple clause descriptions. The color, the shadow, the sway and swing of its fall, the way it looked in comparison to the backdrop (and its respective hue). It was, by far, the most pretentious period of my life, yet the world is more beautiful when experience is liquidated into prose (as opposed to tripping on a pile of leaves and thinking, “God damn it, nature. God damn it.”)
I cared, perhaps far too much. I once sat with my thesis advisor for an hour and a half, thumbing through various hard covered references for the sake of rearranging the words of one sentence. I would spend hours ignoring the reality around me because I was entirely in my head, reconstructing memories, envisioning the taste, the scent, and the noise of the truth I had supposedly witnessed and felt compelled to relay. This was, perhaps, my biggest struggle — I thought so much of the past in my writing life, yet was attempting to balance it with forward thinking, future driven timeline of social justice work. I was never in one temporal space.
It mattered so much that I hardly ate. It mattered so much that I rarely ever slept, at least soundly. It mattered so much that the off-white color of the library walls had a healthier, more radiant glow than I did. It mattered so much that it has taken an entire year to recover. But today, I sat down and I had an idea.
I think I am ready to write again. After all, this writer is writing about my wanting to write. I might as well.