Hello reader, wherever you find yourself tonight. I’m writing to you now from the comfort of my tiny studio loft, which I should be in the process of packing for my upcoming move, but have instead decided to begin this blog. I am one of the worst procrastinators when it comes to packing, but truth be told I have put off writing this blog for far too long as well. Like many late 20-somethings I know, I currently find myself at a crossroads, seeking meaning and purpose in my career, my relationships, and life in general. Moving to a new place tends to make me more introspective than usual, a feeling which most people can relate to and which now motivates me to write.
An English teacher in high school once told me that I had to become an English major. At another point in time when I had so many doubts about myself and where I was going, I couldn’t understand how my teacher could be so certain about my future. As it turns out, he was right, though it took changing majors and a few other bumps and turns along the way before I reached the same conclusion that he had. Since graduating college a few years ago, however, I have experienced one of the worst bouts of writer’s block in my life. Blame it on a stream of dead-end jobs that left me with little to no time or energy at the end of each day to write, a lack of direction or focus, or simply a fear of failure, but I couldn’t be bothered to write much of anything for a long time.
With so much wasted time weighing me down and chipping away at my self-confidence, I often wondered what I could produce if I simply forced myself to write a little something each day. In time, inspiration came, as it so often does, in the form of heartache. It wasn’t just romantic heartache that forced me to pick up a pen again (though that did play a part as well); it was the heartache that comes with the realization that, no matter how much we might plan for our future, life rarely follows our plans. I started writing again, a few poems at first, then a few more, until I realized that I just needed to write something, anything really, and eventually the words would come to me. So, without a map for the road ahead, I begin my journey here in the hope that I might learn something about myself and maybe even make a connection with you, my dear reader, in the process.
I leave you tonight with this passage from the brilliant surrealist writer Franz Kafka entitled “The Aeroplanes at Brescia”, an autobiographical account of an air display Kafka attended in 1909 when he saw a plane take flight for the first time. This story inspired me when I read it over 10 years ago in the very same high school English class that started it all. Watching the pilot prepare for takeoff, Kafka writes, “Does he intend to get into the air on this trifle? How much easier it is for people on the water, for example. They can first practice in puddles, then in ponds, then in rivers, and only very much later do they brave the ocean; for these people here there is only an ocean.”
For those of us who can only see an ocean before them: let’s brave it anyway.