Unspilled Ink, and the Coming Year(s)

It’s 3:27 am, and I’m in bed hoping the light from the screen or my fingers on the keyboard aren’t troubling my roommate’s sleep (if you’re reading this Hong, and I did in fact wake you, I owe you cereal). A deluge of thoughts is keeping me up tonight, and though they are not the belletristics I usually post, I feel as though I have enough kinship with all of you to share them.

This is my first year in college; however because of a high school credit program (AP anyone?) I’m set to graduate Spring 2016. This anomaly of my first year being my penultimate one means I’ve less time to become qualified for the workforce through internships and campus involvement. To say nothing of the fact that I don’t even know what I wish to do in the professional sphere. I’m 18 so I frequently hear “well, dear, you don’t have to know yet- no one does at this age!”- but this doesn’t sit right with me. I’ve learned with intentionality since my freshman year of high school, when I enrolled in courses with scholarships and college credit in mind. I knew there wasn’t a way for me to pay for my secondary education, so I decided that if I pushed hard enough, won scholarships, and exempted out of enough pre-rec courses, I could do this without wrecking my financial stability. It worked, I’m here, and in another year I may be graduating…what??? I’m a Global Studies major/French minor, heading this August to a French university to work and study, and perhaps get a clue as to what the hell I’m supposed to be doing. All I’m certain of is that I wish to commune with people around the world, speak different languages (Spanish and Arabic- you’re up next), and above all give love as deeply and proactively as I can throughout my life.

However in the past year or so, writing has evolved into an integral part of my life and my identity. I don’t leave campus without an anthology nor a notebook and pen (I recently made the mistake of biking to a bookshop without either, and promptly purchased a miniscule pad of paper and 4-inch pen that I could put in my shoe on the ride home. I had found inspiration among the bookstacks). Writing alleviates pain, rejoices in the beautiful minutiae, inspires change, and so much more; it has become my hope that my words can achieve these ends. But I have so much growing to do. A kind reader recently urged me to consider classical forms, and I promptly realized I’m utterly ignorant when it comes to anything but free-verse. There is so much I want to know and study, but it’s too late in the game to change my major. Professors have urged me towards graduate school for creative writing, but the idea of spending more money that I don’t have terrifies me. The thought of losing out on the chance to grow as a writer terrifies me even more. So I’ve been doing the cost-benefit analyses in my head, factors in which include time, providing for my future family, career, job experience, etc., and if I finish my undergrad at 20- why the hell not? I am young and should not limit myself by something as transient as money.

I also realized today that my gifts and skills are independent of anyone else. For a couple months now I’ve been inadvertently seeking validation from a couple writers I know and admire, and comparing my own style to their very different ones; this is folly. I create on my own terms, and my work should not be dictated by another’s. This should have been obvious, but I was enamored with the new thrill and blessing of knowing other people with word-shaped hearts, and got lost in comparing the phrases within. (Okay, so maybe a couple belletristics.)

It took me skipping class yesterday and getting lost on my bike for me to come to these tenuous epiphanies. It took me receiving the kindest, most encouraging email I’ve ever read for me to realize that I no longer have a say in the past- but what I say about it can be everything. This past year I’ve been recovering from PTSD and a few other related disorders caused by traumas that I will not elucidate upon. My recovery has been colored by a spectrum of emotions- hope, rage, hate, despair, resolve, to name a few- and each of these feelings has brought with it a new way to say what’s in my heart. What I write may not always be easy to read, but it will always be honest- and I believe there is beauty in truth.

So I would like to offer my sincerest gratitude to all of you who have helped me along the way, reminded me why I write, or read my work. Thank you for sustaining me these past months and in the ones to come. I am inexpressibly thankful for all of you. With love, M. Alden


11 thoughts on “Unspilled Ink, and the Coming Year(s)

  1. Brava, across the board — especially your commitment to continued creation and development of your own voice. (Also, and somewhat related: Given recent themes and threads, I smiled when I saw the bit about the pen in your shoe.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Though many of these come from a painful place, your voice, your experiences resonate with many. There were times in my life when I had no words, no paintings, no music to express the void. That’s when I began reading other writings even more, spent more time at the MFA, and never stopped playing music. I needed what others said to sustain me, strengthen me, scream and rant for me. Your deep heart helps fill the space in others. Don’t stop.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is always wonderful to see the person behind the work, so I thank you for your personal opening. It means a lot to me that you are that open, and it has revealed something more in your poetry that was only hinted at before (in my interpretation anyway).
    I will continue to read your work and look forward to seeing you grow in writing and in your self.
    I do not know you so well at all, but I will pray for you.
    All the best,

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I do encourage you to keep writing. I think your voice is original, raw, and refreshing. I think the world could use a large dose of you! But that’s just my opinion. And who am I anyway? Just another lost one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Your encouragement is much appreciated, especially at such a juncture in life as this. I read PPP quite often, so to get this comment from one of the pilots was quite wonderful!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Of course! I’m actually surprised you’re not a creative writing major, to be honest. I’m graduating with a degree in creative writing in May, and your work is up to the standards of people that have been studying it for four years.

        Thank you so much! It was nice to hear we have an avid reader.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Don’t feel beholden to college either. Teachers are wonderful people, but we can, and should, instruct ourselves as well. You are already a writer, and no piece of paper will better qualify you than your own driving ambition. I’ve had to take a break from getting a degree due to my crippling depression and other issues, but I have never stopped learning (and hopefully growing). Speaking of which… tenellous? When I encounter a word, I promptly look it up. Trouble is, the internet is telling me it isn’t a word. Did you invent it, or is the internet being dumb?

    Liked by 1 person

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