“It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.”
– The Writer, by Richard Wilbur
2 AM and I’m still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you’ll use them, however you want to
– 2 AM by Anna Nalick
When people ask me what I want to do when I grow up, I generally tell them the same four things – I want to have a family, I want to be a writer, I want to help people, and I want to be happy.
My mom always – somewhat gratuitously – tells me that I already have all of these goals accomplished , which is nice and technically correct. Maybe that just goes to show how I’m never quite satisfied with what I have right now. I just noticed that I also didn’t say I wanted to do anything in particular, just be these certain things, like a father and a husband and a writer.
I’m still developing my narrative voice. Longtime followers of the blog will have noticed that my writing has improved…slowly but surely. And it’s growing wings, sprouting branches, whatever, but it’s still just so teenagerly and hormonal and awkward sometimes. I still over-adjective, over-analyze, and clumsily wield my metaphors like terrible chainsaws; I still revel in my own apparent self-wit; I still have such a long way to go.
I’m extremely jealous of my friend Jeff, who is a fantastic writer.
I recently attended a reading he put together for his new book, and it was really cool because at one point, the people he wrote about were sitting next to him during the reading and the way he described them in his book was exactly how they appeared in real life. The way he was able to craft words that so perfectly described their appearances and mannerisms was flooring. I want to be able to describe people so well someday, to tell their stories in such a responsible, honoring way.
When he was young, my friend Sam (the guy who first really introduced me to writing) vowed to beat out Christopher Paolini (of Eragon fame) and publish a series of novels before the age of 16. As far as I know, it never happened.
Another friend told me she wanted to be published before 18, and sent out copies of her poems to three literary firms. None of them responded either.
For my own writing legacy, I’ve set the bar quite a bit lower: someday, I just want to get paid by somebody to write something.
I don’t know if you know this, but I’m actually in Costa Rica right now. It kind of reminds me of Honduras. It’s got that sort of “developing country” air to it, yknow? Not in a derogatory way or anything, it’s just that the smell is part sewage and sweat, the feel is heat and crackling asphalt. Crude odors and noises flood the senses. Food, water, and waste fill the city streets.
It’s hot, it’s human, it’s gorgeous, it’s gritty, it’s big, it’s beautiful, it’s a million degrees humidity out here, I love it so far, and I figure I should be able to find something – anything – to write about in this country. It’s so nice to write in a foreign country, I feel really hip. It’s so cool to be able to use English as well. I bumped into this one American girl today and speaking my native tongue with her literally felt like that big breath of air you take after coming up from too long underwater. Fresh air.
As I’m working on this post, my little brother for the summer, this little dude, he keeps peeking his head around the corner to my room and just staring at me. Saul Davíd (I’m loving the Biblical-enemy-name-thing), he’s 4 years old (I’m thinking of nicknaming him Jesús-Diablo), he knows I’m trying to work but he keeps peeking his head out at me and ducking back when I lock eyes with him.
Okay, now he’s brought a coloring book into my bedroom and is just laying on the floor drawing in it and whispering my name.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up on regular posting as much as I’d like, so I’d really welcome any guest posts that any of you would like to write…just follow that hyperlink if you’re interested!
To steal a line from a friend, and to step out of Ryan the Writer’s shoes for a minute here (and out of Ryan the Controversialist’s, Ryan the Activist’s, Ryan the Social Worker’s) and just into Ryan the Human Being’s set of sneakers for a split second, I’d like to let y’all know that I really need and appreciate your thoughts and prayers as I continue to immerse myself here in Costa Rica. ¡Qué Dios now bendiga!
Okay, I don’t know what I’ve done to invite the idea that I’m interested in playing right now but now this kid is now sliding across the tile floor in his socks and dancing to Boston’s Foreplay/Long Time.
Okay, I just taught him how to beat box. This is awesome. We’re playing Hot Wheels. Writing is not as cool as this. I’m going to go now.
Paz y Amor,