That madness is writing.
I shared a bedroom with two of my older brothers. We had a twin sized wooden bunkbed, and a dresser for each of us. Our closet was small and occasionally visited by a bird that lived in the attic. We were mostly terrified of the bird, but always loved telling people about it the older we got. Most of the time you couldn’t see the floor from the mountain of clothes and toys. I’d leave my suitcase full of Barbies in the middle of the floor and my brother’s would leave their Hot Wheels upside down near the walls where they crashed.
I came home one day to find my dresser in my parents room. My brothers kicked me out. And though my oldest brother had a room of his own, I slept on our foldout couch from then on. Unfortunately for everyone else I took that to mean I controlled the air conditioner that was stationed in the living room. It was below seventy most nights.
The first time I wrote a poem was on that foldout bed. I didn’t know what poetry was, I just knew what I heard someone citing on some T.V. show. Thus began my self fulfilling poetry stage of life that took many years to grow out of. But it was still my beginning.
Everyone starts somewhere and I just so happened to often be inspired by how mean my brothers could be. It’s all very cringe-worthy, but a part of my writing history. Through time and experience I’ve been able to learn what writing truly is–what poetry truly is: the best language in the best order. In a time where “writers” are abound on the internet, it’s easy to forget what real writing is. Real writing is not purely self-fulfilling. I may have started writing young, but wasn’t until I understood that it’s not for me to feel better about myself that I truly began to fall in love with language.
I had to grow beyond the sobbing-my-eyes-out-because-my-brothers-were-mean and into loving the use of language for what it can do for others and not just myself.
And so should everyone else.