My Relationship With Writing: A Torrid Love Affair Featuring Anna And The World Around Her.
After hours of contemplation, I have come to the decision that my torrid love affair with writing all started with a yellow legal pad. In this legal pad there is the beginning of something so wonderfully incomprehensible that not one single person in this room could comprehend it; but in this legal pad there is also death. The death of love, the death of trust. The resurrection of pain and heartbreak. The pages of this legal pad are wrinkled and falling out of the binding. There are coffee stains, tear stains, pen marks, pencil marks, and the words of ghost writers who, for the night, knew me better than I did. Ladies and gentleman; it all really started with a yellow legal pad.
Of course I’ve written papers my whole life, all throughout my schooling. I’ve written countless papers about this book and that author, comparing this literary character to that serial killer, all in under the required maximum of eleven pages. Double spaced, areal font size twelve... no exceptions. Let me tell you a little something- these papers were never me. Of course, I wrote them, but these papers were never a horcrux, so to speak. I never looked back on these essays and saw a piece of my soul in them.
These essays were well written and earned me an exceptional passing grade in my final year of high school, but I never looked back on them and thought “this is something I would blog about.” Because that’s what high school seniors do... they blog. They blog about everything, from their love life, to their social life, right on up to their feelings about graduation. Especially their feelings about graduation, which mostly consist of too early nostalgia, excitement, and the wonderful feeling of pure joy in never having to see any of your graduating class ever again.
Graduation came and went, the final chant of “oh WHAT?” “ oh NINE!” still rung in my ears, no matter how hard I tried to block it out. The graduating class of Woodridge High School had dispersed, and summer was finally in full blast. I lived with my father the majority of the time, my parents having separated years beforehand. Every night while passing through the kitchen to grab a snack, or to heard my brother and his drunken friends out the back door and safely into the pool, I would glance to what had come to be known as “Nino’s pile of useless things.” Little did I know that yellow legal pad was hiding, waiting patiently for the day to come when I would pick it up, un-cap a pen, and start a legacy of my own.
The day my torrid love affair with writing began was June 9th, 2009. Although, technically, I should say it was June 10th seeing as my sudden urge to write down my inner monologue was prompted around three ‘o clock a.m. when my then-boyfriend was using my father’s stove and the help of two of my closest friends to make synthetic devil horns. Let me explain. My then-boyfriend was falling a little behind on production of latex accessories for his group to sell at the one and only Midwest Haunter's Convention. Midwest was a convention for people all across the nation who worked at haunted houses year ‘round to gather together, and this year I was to come along. So there I sat in my father’s kitchen at three o’ clock in the morning, yawning every five minutes, the smell of latex overpowering my already sleep deprived mind.
I had gotten used to the sleep deprivation over the months, but what was new were the cycles of monologue continuously jumping through my mind. That night, I found myself in the midst of a “Chuck Palahnuk-Fight-Club-Narrator” type dialogue. In between the narcissistic thoughts, I found myself thinking “I should write this down.” And so I did. I un-caped a pen, grabbed the blank legal pad I spied sticking out from underneath piles of my father’s bills- and wrote the first thing that came to mind.
“This is a legal pad.” I dropped the pen and sighed. The moment I touched the ink to yellow paper, the monologue seemed to stop mid-stream. Just as I had given up all hope, something strange happened. My then-boyfriend leaned over my shoulder, glanced down and the yellow paper that would come to hold pages all about him, and said “whatcha writing?” In that moment, it was as if Palahnuk himself had screamed “WRITE ANNA, WRITE WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE!” I defensively huddled over the page, mumbled a short response, and began to write the most narcissistic thing I’ve written to date, in a kitchen, surrounded by people I loved.
But people change... and that defense and assurance I felt that night was only a foreshadowing of the trouble that followed with my then-boyfriend. As that trouble increased, so did the abundance of nights I found myself turning to the legal pad for answers. I also began frequenting a coffee shop that was open all night. A forty-five minute drive from my father’s house, most nights I found myself gathering the legal pad and a pen, and making the drive by myself without much thought until suddenly, one night, I had company. My first companions name is Benedict, and he had a large hand in making the legal pad so much more than just yellow paper.
Ben found the legal pad and I in pretty poor condition. The legal pad and I were both filled with resentment, words of regret, and animosity. We held no shred of optimism for our future, no single word to suggest that we would ever be okay again. Even though the legal pad looked brand new, and I looked the same, there must have been something unnerving about seeing someone’s ink-and-paper scars. Despite the fact that Ben and I had fallen out of contact, he had agreed to come with me on what I assumed would be a night of indefinite silence.
In certain ways, I was right. We didn’t speak much that night; due to the fact that when I had gone to get more coffee, I returned and found my legal pad laying open just as I had left it moments before. As I picked it up to continue writing, I found that someone had written in the margin of my story. I looked up at him in complete shock-nobody had ever touched the legal pad besides me. “I didn’t look at it. I put a napkin over the words.” I glanced down at the scribbles that adorned the margins of what had once been, a perfect story.
“It took me a few minutes to realize he was writing in the margins...” I deciphered his handwriting bit by bit and slowly realized he had started his own “fictional” story in the margins of mine. “ an idiot...I’m sitting with an idiot.” it concluded. For a second I sat, awestruck that someone else had laid a hand on what was some of my inner most thoughts- let alone tried to write them, and stared. But after a moment, I found myself flipping the page, and writing a response.
The moral of this story: Anna loves college english... a lot.
Song of the night: I'm gonna have to go with Sante Fe' -via the newsies soundtrack.
Until next time, stay classy kids.