I’m trying to cobble together some poetry at the moment, from memos and fragments and notes on napkins. It’s not going great but it made me think about language and its place in my life.
I’ve always been a word nerd. In high school I took all English and History papers and spent lunchtimes in the library. At university I studied journalism and creative writing. My path as a writer never wavered, even when I got sick. In fact, that made it stronger in many ways.
I’m incredibly lucky that I’ve been able to use writing as a way to process what’s happening to me, and that, in telling my story, I can help others. And somehow I’ve even managed to turn it into work that really matters to me. Even when I’m really unwell, I’ve got something that is a constant. And yes, some days I am too sick to write, and those days suck, but I never stop being a writer. I never stop loving language.
I love how people tell stories and how stories are at the heart of so many cultures. Now and for centuries.
I love that I asked my friend what she’d been up to and she said she had news: “well, not about me, but ‘me-adjacent!'” Language evolves and things like this are amazing. Especially when people rail against it and try to make out it’s awful and why can’t we go back to the way it used to be.
I love when someone asks you if they’ve told you something already, and you go “no,” and their eyes get wide briefly and they breathe in and go “oohh, OK, so-” and you just know this is going to be good.
I love when you confide something to someone and they just go “yuuuup” and that’s all you need to know that what they mean is: “Oh man, have I been there. That sucks. I’m here for you.”
I love that language is what we use to let people know we care about and appreciate them. That it binds communities together.
That it enables me to share what could otherwise be a terribly isolating life. Language can cross so many barriers – culturally, physically, digitally, socially. It doesn’t always connect properly, but when it does, it creates something really powerful.
And the best thing about it is; you can pretty much do whatever you want. You just have to be creative.
And not avoid the poetry you’re supposed to have been writing for weeks. >.<