This is not a love story 

She tried to tell him 

Her heart was not made for loving 

But he laughed and loved her anyway

He reached deep into the spaces

Where her mind played tricks on her

And told her she deserved only her thoughts 

As company 

He came and pushed these thoughts aside 

And took residence in the crevices 

Between her fears and her selfish needs

She tried to tell him 

Her heart was not made for loving 

She tried to show him that inside she was

Empty.

With nothing to offer but the sad remains of something resembling affection 

She tried to tell him 

He didn’t listen, and loved her still 

Even when at times she seemed only a shell of herself,

Retreating into corners and hiding in the silence 

Even when she wished only to drive him away

So that he might find some other heart who knew to love, and love entirely 

Even then he waited patiently, indulging her silences 

And held her until she came to learn what holding meant 

She didn’t know how to explain it— that there was no room in her for love

Not since she’d forgotten how to love herself 

But he knew, and told her without saying much, what loving really was

It was caring for a wreck like her, who could never love as much 

She tried to tell him 

Advertisements

The Downer

It’s unfortunately inevitable. Those days when we sit down and begin, subconsciously, to question our motives, our skills, our aim. We read successful authors and attend their readings and visit their sites and we wonder, Can I really do that? Should I even bother? 

Thankfully, that depressing downer that is a part of all of us is dormant most of the time, but when he chooses to speak up, it’s hard not to listen to him, the little devil. Recently I’ve had my fair share of depressing thoughts and reluctant acknowledgement of the notion that I might not be as brilliant as I make myself out to be. Sometimes, all we need is a humbling experience to bring us out of the dark, and I had one.

I was fortunate enough to attend a reading featuring  Chitra Divakaruni, author of Oleander Girl. Her humorous and intellectual talk opened my eyes to the possibilities that are waiting for me to grasp them. I want to do this, I thought, as I sat in my seat and took vigorous notes on how to avoid writers’ block and Who Not To Read. I want to stand in front of an audience some day, and read my work to them. I realized that, just as Chitra was obviously proud of her work and accomplishments, I should be proud of mine. Every word that my mind churns out onto paper, every story, every poem. They’re products of my creative drive, and I have every reason to take pride in that effort.

Regardless of whether it’s “good” or not, whether I’m ever going to get published, (please God yes!) I need to be able to read my own words without feeling ashamed, or inferior. There’s no scale for great writing, no matter what editors and publishers say. There’s a technical scale, sure, but a scale of quality is up to the author to discern. We can’t measure writing by Faulkner’s standards, or Hemingway’s, or Carver’s, or King’s. Instead, we need to write what we are passionate about, and the quality will be worthy of any New York publishing house. The trick is to write because you can’t see yourself doing anything else, not because your sole aim is getting published. Publishing’s just a nice plus. 

“It’s better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self”