School Writing

A Thousand Stories

There are a thousand stories I could tell right now. I could tell of how a classmate and I forgot our Gen 100 folders and so he had to walk all the way back to his dorm just so we could know what questions to ask each other. I could tell how a friend and I occupy our little niches in the library and how we always know which way to look to see a familiar face when we feel lost in the sea of unfamiliarity. I could tell of  my first friend at college and have we been in college long enough to have “close” college friends? I could tell you of the utter exhaustion of last week, when I worked 35 hours in three days and tried to keep up with homework on top of that. On a lucky night last week, I was able to get six hours of sleep. I could tell of the girls who sat behind me in Intro to PR, and how I felt so lost in the sea of upperclassmen until I met them. I could tell of how I study in the library by taking out my hearing aids to make it silent. I could tell of how the red tailed hawk was standing on the edge of a campus building and how I stood like a fool in the rain just watching it. 

I could tell a thousand stories, but since I have so many, I’ve pushed off writing. “What to write about? How to pick?” All of them clambering in my mind, all fighting for the same amount of attention. All of them overrun by the thought of the short story due tomorrow and the quiz coming up and the fact that somehow midterms are in the wind.

Yet, still. 

“I write to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see, and what it means.”

– Essayist Joan Didion

I am a writer. You are a writer. Joan Didion is a writer. Each of us has the urge to write, the calling to write. Oftentimes, it gets pushed aside by other, more important things. Job, college, homework, bills, people. But so often, we forget ourselves. We forget that we need to write.

Something else I think we forget is why we write.

There are two whys, of course. Why #1, because, um, we’re writers, and, duh, why not? The second why is:

Why Bother?

Because right now, there is someone
out there with
a wound in the exact shape
of your words

We write because someone needs to hear. Not all work, of course, is for someone else’s eyes. But, right now, there is someone out there who needs to hear what you have to say. And as a writer, the best way to say it is to write it.

So go write it. Start on your thousand stories one by one. You might have to carve out time you didn’t think you had, or schedule time into your calendar so no one else can take it, but do yourself a favor, and go do what you were meant to do.