Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I came across her writing

in a note on facebook, and though I hadn't seen her in a decade, though I couldn't quite place her location, her life, I felt I knew her essence again, could here her soft voice, her rising cadence, rushing forward, then retreating, as though each sentence was brought by the tide.
And I was transported to old coffee-houses during lit, to high school, to what was, oddly, my best writing time, the period in my life when I could, when I had the luxury, to bend over my notebook for seconds, turning into minutes, into hours, just to find the right word to fit the end of a line, a sentence, a feeling or thought.
I thought I was so tired then, so overworked, with my grade 11 lit and my algebra-geometry homework, with history and physics and world issues. I didn't know where I'd find the time to memorize Shakespeare and solve problems 3 a - i. I was overwhelmed.
It's almost laughable in hindsight, this emotion, this sense of purpose when I hadn't lived enough to have enough to write. And now, with something worth putting down, with my own stories, I am too afraid. If I share, will I be recognized? Do I want the recognition?
We are all afraid, have moments of defeat, of sadness or uncertainty, but we so rarely put them out there, so rarely want to use them as material.
I used to say, "I wrote this, but don't worry, I'm happy;" used to say, "don't worry, this isn't about me"; and usually it wasn't, but isn't life just a series of small joys and small disappointments building into larger moments? Isn't it normal in the day to have a moment where you don't have a clue, where you want to just stop? and then another where you could go and go and go to the ends of the round earth, where you would have to crash into a brick wall not to keep going?
She wrote about her life, and I could hear her in her words and I could see her brushing a wisp of straight black hair behind her ear as she read. I imagine one hand holding the paper, the other randomly reaching up to touch her head. Funny how we remember certain nervous habits, how her voice is still in my mind so many years later. How I can see her smile.
I told myself I wouldn't write for a living. I told myself I would write for life.


Jen said...

This post gave me goosebumps.

Inshallah Noha you will have children one day and you will look back at *this* time and wonder that you used to call yourself busy. It seems to be the older we get that our commitments take more and more and more of us. I feel like I've been waiting for the time to write, and lately I see that it will never come. That there will always be "busy-ness" of some kind. But I've started carving out time, claiming it for my own. It's just once a week... but it feels nice.

noha said...

You're so right of course, Jen, and though I know it, it partially depresses me. If I feel too busy now, what's going to happen down the line. The other thing is that I don't know if it's really my "busy-ness" that's getting in the way: this summer, H would sit us down at random times to read us something she'd written the night before, and I mean you've seen her two angels - BUSY!
Sometimes I think it's more that I'm too reluctant to put my life and my own emotions on paper. Too private to share, and that's something I wish I could get past.
I made a deal with a friend that we'd write something weekly and send to each other for editing. This was a few months back. It fell through (she never sent). Are you game? I feel like this would be so much easier if I had an assignment.

Jen said...

I've found in the past that if I've left writing for an extended period of time it takes a great deal of bravery to get back into it again. Even more so to let someone else READ it, LOL!

I would be willing to send you something every week or two, but I must say that it would probably not be a "finished" piece of any sort. I don't write fiction as such, so personal essay or letter form is my most comfortable "genre".

My proposition is a little less formal than what you suggest, but I would be interested in developing a literary correspondence... A letter, or a page of something you wrote, or an idea you want to flesh out, or just doodles when you have writers' block. Anything that KEEPS US WRITING. :-)

Let's email and come up with something inshallah.