When I was slightly younger, I’d often hear a word in my ear. It would appear as if by some divine intervention, and I’d rush. I’d rush to write it down. I’d rush to record it somewhere. I did not want to lose it. It was my stroke of genius, I thought, I need to see this through.
So, in my selfishness, I’d take that word and build sentences around it. The sentences would become paragraphs, and before we knew it, we had a semblance of a piece of writing.
I still hear the words, even more so now. I hear them when I’m sitting by myself, exhausted, listening to the rain patter on the window. I don’t move a muscle anymore. If there is anything I’ve learned in the past few years, it’s that the right word comes back to you.
The right word is meant to arrive, knock for a bit, and now that is the trick, you don’t open the door. You never open the door because the word has to grow. The word has to find itself first before it finds you, and so you let the door stay bolted as it rains outside. A while later, it leaves, but you don’t forget it. You know it will come back.
A week goes by, a month goes by, and sometimes, years go by, as you keep sitting by the door. Then one day, there it is, there is the knock. The knock isn’t as panicked as it was earlier. It’s calmer, softer. The word knows you’ll open the door. It knows you’re waiting for it, and you were, in fact, waiting for it.
While you waited, you’d grown as well. You learned that a word of passion was useless if it didn’t know where it belonged. You learned that you had no role in this. Well, beyond the role of the one who puts it on paper. You were just an agent in this thing that was larger than you, much larger.
There was no divine intervention. There was no genius. It was all about the right word, as it had always been. It was never just about the right word, though. It was all in how the right word arrived. That was the undisclosed secret.
The most well-kept of them all, protected by all those who had ever managed to put an honest word down through the course of history, and trust me, just one was enough. One honest word was all it took for you to understand the truth.
It was never about you.