Thoughts After 15 Days Of Writing True
After the workshop, nothing feels the same. I am once again understanding a new side of me and the change doesn't creep or crawl. It overwhelms. I look at old pictures to catch a glimpse of my growth and I try to predict what my next portrait will look like. Whatever happens, I can only write about it.
At the start of May, about a hundred people met #15DaysOfWritingTrue. It was an experiment and a gamble. We didn't know how far our 15 modules would go. Today, we officially end the workshop period and we see that we've traveled farther than we could have ever plotted on a map. From old Manila streets to New York subways, from urban deserts in Dubai to secret coves in small islands, we moved each other. We rode planes, trains, and rollercoasters. We took trips down surprise birthday parties while some birthdays were unexpectedly the last. We cried in rooms. We cried in public. We watched people in coffee shops and concerts and wondered how many of them were looking back. We scaled mountains and dove deep sea. We celebrated the return of family and we said goodbye to those who were about to leave. We studied landscapes and lovers' faces. We wrote letters to people we missed and the world wrote back on their behalf. Where there is light, the world writes. In between leaves. In colors. In slow and gentle mornings. In eyes. In rain. In fire. Where these things are, the world is teaching us to write in light. So what is true can shine. So what hurts can heal. So that things can grow. So what is heavy can finally become light.
I was scared that nobody wanted to write. Writing is less glamorous than its colorful counterparts. While many preferred to tell stories in pictures, in paint, in film, and in song, there didn't seem to be a ready audience of those willing to sharpen their skills at written verse. I was happy to be wrong. In a month, I met teachers, mothers, travelers, and dreamers. I met a black belter, a computer programmer, an engineer, and a chef. I met husbands through the stories of their wives. I met celebrities through the stories of their fans. I met newborn children and aging dads. I met many loves of many lives and I heard words spoken, sometimes tender, sometimes angry, most times, secret. I met all of these people without meeting them in person. I saw a different side to friends that they seldom show at parties. I sat and read more than a hundred different stories occuring at a hundred different times, and I felt them all at once, at home, at sea, wherever I went I brought them, and they will now be a part of me. Writing the feedback took forever because as I was answering how to improve sentences, I was inadvertently giving life advice. Maybe I wasn't supposed to do that. Maybe I should have just run a grammar check and rearranged words but nobody learns how to write like that. To write, you must first live the stories you want to write about. And to keep writing, you have to enjoy it. Put simply, writing true is enjoying life. In big or small ways, on good and bad days, write true.
The call to write true rings louder now. I urge all writers to be louder than the gunfire. We are avid observers and talented empaths. We have the gift of making things felt. We must use our ability to speak clearly so others can find the light. Find the time to write. Take your notebook to your usual spot and meet the ugly, divisive truths that no one likes talking about. Maybe, if written well and true, the soul will listen. It's time. I write so emotions don't go unprocessed, so they don't haunt me anymore. Imagine a nation of unprocessed emotions. We know we are angry without understanding the real reason why. Write, so trauma doesn't hold the country hostage. Write, so people learn to tell fake news from the truth. Write, because art is the story of survival. Write, to end the wars inside us. This is the story of the year 2017. What are we saying right now?