The idea of being a writer has always fascinated me.
I would describe myself as chaotic and sporadic. I bounce from thought to thought like the metal ball in a pinball machine, refusing to develop one idea in great detail. To fully explore those ragged edges where the emotions have corroded a writer’s innocence and to use them in beautiful, poetic, and meaningful writing requires immense strength… strength akin to the hardness of a diamond, being able to tough the tumultuous nature of one’s emotions.
It’s no surprise that many of my favorite writers have diamond tips on their fingers. Thomas Rambures, author of A Sweet Word, has beautiful crystalline fingertips that shine whenever he moves his pen to write. His fingertips sparkle with his desire to uplift his audience, depositing that light onto his writing and, subsequently, onto all of his readers.
Sometimes, I pretend to be a successful writer like Rambures. I sit at my desk with a piece of narrowly lined paper, my favorite blue fountain pen, a Spotify indie playlist, and a mind buzzing with ideas. Excitedly, I put my pen to paper. However, before I can write even a sentence, my brain shuts off, like the machinery in a factory after its last shift. My ability to express my thoughts in words disappears.
This time would be different.
Rambures said countless times in his interview that his inspiration for writing comes from his deepest feelings. He encouraged aspiring writers to write from their hearts. To channel my inner Rambures, I stepped right into the mud puddle of my emotions, ready to fight my way through it. I hoped that, with a little bit of Avatar style earthbending and tenacity, I could take this murky substance and mold it into a piece of writing. Just one piece, that was all I asked for.
That mud puddle, besides being sticky and difficult to move through, kept pulling me lower, soon covering the crown of my head. The stairs under my feet descended deeper, forcing me to follow. The mud got heavier and hotter as I walked through it, transforming into molten rock full of tumultuous thoughts, emotions, and regrets.
The mantle boiled and the pressure above me amplified, pushing me forward. Expecting another stair after this one, I stepped firmly, shocked when I slammed my foot against flat land. That pain was overshadowed by the excitement as I found the first stair that would pull me up. Hurriedly, I rushed up these stairs to the other side.
And slowly, the sweat beads ceased to form on my forehead. My gaze lifted from my feet as I extended my head upwards, looking at the little distance I had left to cover. Exiting the puddle, I looked down at my work, expecting to see the same crystalline glimmers that made Rambures’s writing so enchanting. I was ready to read the amazing work I just produced.
I looked over my piece of paper. It was covered in gray smears, like an attempt at shading the whole page. That’s odd… the paper should be bright and full of light, like how Rambures describes his writing. I looked at my… gray fingertips?! I don’t understand! I literally did everything Rambures said he did in his interviews. Why do my fingertips look so different than his? Why is my page dark and dulled with gray graphite residue, not filled with dynamic diamond shine?
Maybe if I write more, that gray shell will flake away, revealing the crystals underneath. As a result, I wrote and rewrote so many pages. Some were elaborate pieces of fiction, and some were experimental lines of poetry. Others were just a record of what I did in a day. Those gray-stained papers soon covered my desk and the surrounding floor, proliferating and spreading the discouraging color like an infection. Within a week, my entire house was covered with gray flakes, dulling the interior. All other colors slowly seeped out of my home and my dreams, leaving behind a monochromatic cast of what was originally there.
While writing today’s to-do list, my doorbell rang. I opened the door cautiously. “I came to drop off some cookies I baked!” Sadie smiled, her black curly hair framing her face perfectly, like usual. Despite being shocked to see her at my doorstep suddenly, I invited her inside hastily, like a proper host. After she stepped in, I realized the mistake I made. The place was still dreary, and her surprised gasp gave away her dismay. Nice going, me. “It’s beautiful!” she exclaimed, calmer than I expected her to be.
Beautiful? This mess where everything is gray and lifeless?
“Everything has a little part of you! It’s like a little museum of you,” she explained after seeing my questioning glance.
These gray flakes slough off my fingertips with every inch I move, and I find it quite annoying. Even the cookies that Sadie baked for me have gray residue. Don’t get me wrong; they still taste great. Regardless, not only did this gray curse make a mess of my house, but it also made a mess of my writing and of my aspirations. Who would want to read something covered in a thin layer of light-blocking gray smears? Who would want to read something that doesn’t fill them with hope? This depressing gray does the exact opposite of what Rambures’s crystals do. How can she call it beautiful?
“Impacting millions of lives and achieving internal stability... What a dream that was. Now, gray fills my entire life. I once hoped to narrate this chapter, and every chapter, of my life. Perhaps others would find solace in my words. However, with gray flakes smudging everything I write, I cannot create a clean and presentable finished product. Those words will forever rest inside my heart, tucked away in a puddle of mud and in between the pages of this journal. The only person who will find comfort in my words is myself.
Gray is such a deep part of me; it would fit Rambures’s suggestions if I weave it into my writing like he weaves his emotions in his stories.”
After writing that last sentence absentmindedly in my journal entry for the day, I climbed into bed, ready to wake up to another colorless day. Oddly enough, I could not fall asleep. My mind was humming, filled with the sound of churning gears contemplating the last sentence I wrote. I left a piece of my gray fingertips on everything I’ve touched in the last week, tainting its existence with mine. If I must live the rest of my life leaving behind a part of myself in so many places, then I hope those remnants of myself can motivate others.
When I sat down to write again with my Spotify playlist and my favorite blue fountain pen, I started easily, flourishing words and sentences across the lines on the page. Parts of me that I had not found the strength to tell my closest friends littered the page. I am exposing my most ragged edges, hoping my readers can find inspiration from my journey. Smears of gray painted the page along with crisp blue letters, weaving parts of me into a beautiful mosaic of my emotions and my words. Perhaps graphite fingertips are not so bad after all.