For as long as I can remember, writing has been part of my life. I have always had a notebook with me jot down my thoughts or ideas or just to process the world around me.
Like most writers, I am a pretty solitary person. I enjoy my own company and never really feel alone. How can one feel alone when a characters and their stories occupy my mind all the time? I can literally be alone and in silence for hours and never even realize that it was silent around me. Because my mind is always inventing new people for new stories.
I have always been more of an observer of the world than a participant. Being around too many people increases my anxiety, so it is easier for me to stay in the fringes, observing and writing, than it is to be in the middle of all the action. I have no desire for the spotlight and writing helps me to be in the world without physically having to be around other people.
While I don’t publish the fiction that I write, it is still my constant companion. I enjoy making up stories and losing myself in the world of these characters. And I am perfectly content being like this.
Writers probably seem strange to people. I know that more than once, inspiration will strike me in the middle of a conversation and I will just get up and walk away from the person I am talking to and quickly block out the world as I get absorbed into the world that is inside my head. Some people get offended. Some people think it’s rude. Writers understand.
Writing isn’t a choice, it is a calling. I am convinced that nobody would ever chose to put their entire life on paper for the world to see and dissect and tear apart by choice. However, anyone that writes knows that the words demand attention. They demand public consumption. They are attention whores and their demands must be obeyed. Unless you love sleepless nights. If you don’t understand that comment, then you are not a writer.
My biography is easier for me to publish than my stories. I find it easier to write about my adoption and my life as an adoptee. For some reason, I can go outside of myself and dissect my life and present it to others for their benefit. I can write my memories without feeling like I am exposing myself. However, if I published any of the fiction I wrote, I feel that I would be exposing myself. Strange that my personal life seems less personal than my fictional writing.
I credit this feeling to being an adoptee, especially a transracial adoptee. My life was given up to public perusal at birth by the person who placed me in foster care. This meant that I would forever be under people’s perusal of whether I was “good enough” to be adopted. After I was adopted at age 2 1/2, my adoption was always on display because I was the only Black person in a white family. I was the only Black person in an entirely white town, so I stood out. I would not have hidden my adoption story, even if I had wanted to. So writing about it now, is no big deal. Even if the story is not always pretty and nice and rainbows and unicorns, it is the story that everyone has always felt they had the right to know.
So writing is a strange animal and writers are even more strange. I like that I can help other people, especially other adoptees with my story. And to me, other people are strange. People who keep schedules and work 9-5 jobs are strange. But I sometimes envy the predictability of their lives. However, even if I envy it, I know that I could never live that life. So I have to follow the demands of my writer’s heart. And I like being strange.
It is good to be writing again. It is good to be able to get all these thoughts down and to quiet the demands of the words’ need for attention. Here there are. Thank you for helping me get here.
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