I sat with my cousin Janelle in the midst of a flooded city. High up in a condo half a world away from home, we spoke of dreams and futures, possibilities and pasts. After years of traveling and growing, we’d come to the same spot.
“Remember that quote?” she asked me, referencing a small chapbook I had made for my high school graduation. It was a little book made at an Office Depot copy center that held the small, feverish writing of a 15-year-old girl trying to figure out her place.
“To be no one but yourself…is the hardest battle any one can fight. I always remembered it from that book you made.”
The thing is, I had nearly forgotten that book, and completely forgotten that quote. I wasn’t sure that anyone had read anything in that little chapbook. More than anything, I had made it for myself – just to see my poems in print.
But here was someone who I respected and admired, someone who traveled the world, someone whose presence in my life I appreciate more than I can say. And she still remembered the words, the quotes, the writing.
“You really should write more,” she told me.
That conversation with Janelle and starting this blog propelled my life forward in ways I couldn’t imagine. It convinced me of how much I loved writing. So I went to get an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. I was Editor-In-Chief of Permafrost Magazine. Now I have an editing business, teach creative writing, and write about my life off-the-grid in Alaska.
This blog has taught me how much words matter. It wasn’t only my words that touched my cousin that day. It was her words to me. “You should write more.”
So this blog is a small attempt to share more. A little hope that someone somewhere will find a snippet of inspiration, a moment of resonance, a crumb of beauty, and never stop fighting.
So I did. And she was right. You never know where your words are going to take you, what you will find when you connect with people, when you open yourself up.
And you know what? You should write more.
To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. – ee cummings