People usually ask “what are you?” or “what do you do?” My responses tends to be:
“Oh, I’m a journalism major” or “I’m a student.” Both of those things are about to not be the truth anymore. I thought by the time I approached graduation I’d say “I’m a writer.” Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Book after book, I’ve searched for the characteristics of a “writer.” William Finnegan is adventurous and thought provoking, so maybe that’s what being a writer requires. The Minimalists exhibit passion and multimedia expertise, is that what I need? Tsh Oxenreider is an attainable traveller, one whom I relate to. Maybe she’s who I should strive to be. All of my professors are award winning, brave intellectuals whose talents I strive to replicate.
I thought on all of these individuals for a long time. Aside from being adventurous and occasionally seemingly limitless (that is what makes a good story, right?), they all have one thing in common: a voice. That’s something I lack. To find a voice is to find power in words. I hope to one day write because I have something to say, instead of the rambling I do into the void of the millions of blogs about destinations privileged people take on their semester abroad. I strive to write like those I mentioned above, in such a way that I inspire young people to search for the wonders of the world that are lost on our current moment. I hope to paint pictures of life that cause a pause in the fog of the morning commute or a moment of reflection with the after-work wine, even if just for a second.
I’m not a writer because I don’t write enough. I haven’t practiced the single skill that I hoped to improve. So, I promise to improve. I will no longer read a book and wish I had the talent. I will read a book and write down what I think instead of call my dad and babble about all the things I’ve learned. To write about people comes with great responsibility. This is my practice.