Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Raison d'etre

I loved running as a little girl.Till I was almost 12; I was one of the faster kids in my school. Possibly even the fastest. I ran during recess; I ran in the hallways (can you tell my teachers hated me?), I ran when I was late to class and sometimes I ran even when I had absolutely no reason to. I had no formal training, no fancy running shoes and certainly no coherent plan to turn this passion into something more serious and streamlined. I ran, simply for the love of it and the purity of that purpose was something that kept me going, rain or shine. It was something I could do, all by myself and for myself, and if you know tween girls, you know how important that first bloom of independence is.


When I got to my teen years, I gradually stopped running. Schoolwork, puberty and mood swings were far bigger masters of my time and soon I started contriving excuses to not run. I hated myself for a bit, ashamed and scared that I suddenly lacked the desire to do something that was once so important to me. But again, my teenage brain wasn’t moored down enough to persevere on this for too long, so I moved on.


Almost at the same time as I stopped running, I started writing. Initially, it was just a couple of short, laughably amateur stories. Then some essays. I loved those. I could ramble on for hours, about small nothings that most people wouldn’t even notice.The richness of prose wasn’t as important to me, as was the simple act of putting pen to paper. I wrote, and I wrote, running hard to keep up with the thoughts that kept pouring out of me. I wrote till my ink-stained fingers ached… and then I wrote some more.


Then I stopped writing as much.High school/college/med school. The list of reasons grew longer. However, this time it was difficult. I wanted to write.And I did write, sporadically and in rapid bursts of frenzy. It wasn’t my best work, but it certainly kept me sane. It made me happy. And it kept me aware that this could very well be my calling even though I was statistically unlikely to make a decent living out of it.


I’ve realized over the years (and I know this is probably obvious), that the best way to forge a habit is to keep doing it. The more I put pen to paper/fingers to a keyboard, the more I wanted to do it again. The simple ritual of getting my coffee and sitting down in front of my screen filled me with memories of past pieces. The emotions I had when I wrote and the release I felt when those words came pouring out of my fingers. That is probably what I sought most.


Unlike running or dancing or a million other hobbies I left in my wake, writing is therapy. It is sometimes painful, often joyous but always cathartic. It doesn’t always guarantee a pretty result, but isn’t that reflective of life itself? So I write. Polished little posts, snazzy and ready to be devoured with your morning cup of coffee. Commercial articles, fluff pieces, deeply introspective essays. I write for you and your best friend and I hope you will enjoy what I have to say.


But, a large part of what I write is private. Some scattered thoughts, some observations, and some epiphanies I happen upon, the fifth time I read them. Most of them don’t even make it to my personal blog. But those pieces are my best friends because they have seen me at my worst and stood by me just the same. Those pieces are the foundation of what I hope to be a decent career as a writer. They are necessary, critical even. Because, before I implore you to be my audience, I need to be sure I’ve convinced myself. And this I vow to do, every time I fill up an empty screen.


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