Someone once told me, that to write better, I must chase life, chase experiences. While it sounds convincingly true, I’m a bit wary about chasing experiences for writing fodder. You see, I’ve always believed that experiences should come naturally.
The great moments in our lives are often those we never expect to happen – and with it, they bring the strongest of emotions: utter elation, indescribable joy, unbearable grief, and even revengeful anger. To do things, with the idea of hoping to make a memory or mistake you can write about, seems contrived.
Of course, it’s not always the case. Journalists look for the story. They chase the stories because they have to write about them – a sporting event, a terror attack, a political upheaval, or an economic crisis. And in their field, chasing is both a professional and civic obligation, where one hopes to bring crucial information to light, so the public will know and hopefully understand. It is their duty to find truth.
But I am not into reportage. I wish I were, if only deadlines and news beats were more appealing to my chaotic spirit. I write as a means of expression, as my obligation to self, to record what happens naturally in my life, and to serve as the more reliable memory to my brain. While I wish I had more resources to fulfill a life of words, I will not chase an experience or manufacture a moment, so I could provide anecdotes as a stable groundwork for writing.
I will not fall in love so I could write about it. I will not make love so I could write about it. I will not travel so I could write about the world, its myriad of sights and mélange of culture. I will not hurt myself intentionally so I will have the sorrow to bring life to my words.
No. I will fall in love, because I did. I will make love, because I wanted to. I will travel, because I wanted to see. I will be pained, because I made an honest mistake. That is the only duty I owe to myself. And if my life brings only the dullness of a routine, or the pleasantness of life – which one should never complain about anyway – then that is what I will write about. Surely, there must be no shame to be alive?
“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.”