I have more notes than the words I have written and shared with the world, and I go through them with an air of regret and an ache in my heart. “Who wrote you?” I ask when I look at an old passage I don’t recall. I do not remember writing these words and do not know what to do with them. The writer’s notebook is a graveyard—ideas go to die there, and sometimes, they come back to life. Like how at a ripe old age, someone comes across an old trinket, and finding it not only brings back the apparent wave of nostalgia but the dream, the youth itself, and then, inspired, they set out to complete the unfinished business, just like that, a note must strike the same chord from when it was first scribbled in a frenzy. But that seldom happens; most notes fall on deaf ears as the months and years pass. We must only write of happiness when we are happy, of love when we are in love, and of heartache when our heart is shattered. All else fails.
The writing is never good if you lie to yourself or do not feel the words. If I don’t believe my words, how will someone else? This is what honesty in writing means. If it is honest, you know how it feels to you and how it is crucial to your very being in that very moment. But all notes, whether they are short or long, whether they have the correct punctuation or not, or if it has been weeks, months, or years since they were written, can be used. That much is true. It is only about the correct moment; when the iron of feeling has a fiery glow to it, and the anvil of your soul is ready and stable, that is when you must strike it. The raw words become prose instantaneously. It seems magical at that moment, and yes, there is some magic to most things, but it is mostly hard work with a great deal of precision. You must know when, you must know how, and you must know what before the note is struck. You must know all that, and you must also know yourself. The last bit is often the most difficult thing to do.
Writing is about using a hammer to make an intricate sculpture and, as impossible as it sounds, coming through. And then, it is about doing it day after day. But people have done it before and have come through; there is hope in that.