On the precipice of continuing
OCTOBER 5, 2020
It was somewhere around 2013/2014 that I decided to take my writing seriously. I’d just finished reading Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones and was floored by the depth and economy of her characterization. I might have tweeted that I wanted to “kick James [the father and two-timer] in the teeth” and I remember Tayari liking and being tickled by that tweet. The whole encounter -- loving the novel, feeling it viscerally enough to share, having the author reply -- left me with such an impression that I ran to devour everything she created.
Luckily enough, Tayari had a blog at the time. This was before American Marriage (likely when her time was more free) and she used that time generously to write posts about writing, the author’s journey, ruminations on rejection and other offerings that I read religiously. I’d been writing my entire life but had never encountered a writer who I felt was down in the trenches with me. Reading her own struggles and stumbles along her road, helped me to internalize the very tactile possibility of a life in letters. Here was someone who was on her way and in her transparency, I saw myself as the writer I could become.
I was on the precipice and it was one more nudge closer to the edge.
Shortly after, I finished a terrible draft (that remains in a drawer) and used it to apply to MFA programs. I was accepted and the rest, as they say, is history.
Some five years since, I’ve continued to deliberately step to that ledge. I have continued to push myself (and there are plently of days I don’t feel worthy or ready to be at the ledge) by showing up to write, submit my art, field rejections (and acceptances) and build community. While my vision to publish a novel hasn’t been realized yet, I recognize that I am on the road and so long as I don’t stop or run out of gas the trip continues.
Like I read Tayari’s musings, I have experienced my own thoughts and feelings about this journey to writing. Through my own failures and triumphs, I have continued to show up to the possibility and it’s here that I want to share that possibility with you. Finding Tayari’s blog was a gift and to have a view of her career trajectory has made me, as a fledging writer, truly believe in the process.
I hope this blog finds some young writer and helps them to feel less alone. I hope it becomes a space to share what I’m experiencing and encountering on this road. I hope to share thoughts on art, craft and culture and in sharing, it would be tremendous if it not only fortfies me but helps usher someone else along their pursuit.
Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica