blunt pencils (the storyteller).

Heisui asked the other day, or maybe implied is the better choice of word, why I write about the same things here – why I only touch upon certain and specific topics, and leave trails of what seems like hints and cryptic messages on several others. The truth is, I realize it too. To be honest, I’m also rather frustrated at myself lately. Even to myself, I sound like a playlist on repeat mode; I replay the same themes and amplify those same, select songs with nostalgia. I claim to have learned, but really most of the time, I move a step forward only to take two steps backwards each time, isn’t it?

But you know, there are several reasons that I only write about certain topics here. Why it’s easy to write about struggling in grad school and waxing poetic about broken friendships and loneliness. The universality in the emotions that arise from these situations are what I like to think that I focus on, because I think all storytellers keep to their craft for moments of “me, too” from their audience. I think we all seek that, to whatever large or small degrees. I told her this, in my reply. I didn’t tell her this:

The art of expressing is easy, but the act of opening up is difficult.

There is a word that has been on my mind for weeks now, months really. I have what I believe is the perfect sentence to express what I think and feel about it. But there is responsibility, I think, when one writes about non-fictional characters. Maybe it’s also called respect – that my stories are never truly mine alone, because I am not writing about caricatures or animated figures. I write about real people in my life and how they elicit emotional, mental and physical responses from me. I write about the pains they bring me, the scars they leave behind in their absence. I write about them from my limited and narrow perspectives; I don’t always do them justice, nor am I always right in my judgment. To err is human after all, they say.

I have that word right at the tip of my tongue, it’s waiting for its turn. It’s waiting for its turn to tell its story, but expressing – that’s easy. I do it all the time anyway, what’s with wearing my heart on my sleeves. These days I don’t write to please anyone either, so there is no accolade, applause or standing ovation that I seek. I am also aware that to others my stories are just that – stories. Maybe they’ll touch your hearts and linger in your minds for a minute, but that’s all they are before the next more interesting and engaging one comes your way. We are progressive and dynamic beings, after all. To stay permanently stagnant in one place is simply not in our nature. My stories are small, mostly trivial; easily forgotten. I know that too. So why the hesitation, isn’t it? Why make a mountain out of a mole? Why talk about responsibility when it’s not like these stories hang on life-and-death, do-or-die, all-or-nothing? Why exaggerate by thinking that others are dying to hear the truth? I know all these, yet I cannot seem to easily extricate myself from the responsibility I believe I have as a storyteller and more than that – as a friend, sister, daughter. A person taking up space.

The word, that specific word – it lingers on my mind. Estranged. The truth behind it weighs heavily on my soul and pieces fragments together to form a cracked whole- pffft, and it’s not even the most appropriate choice of word.

The art of expressing is easy, but the act of opening up is difficult.


3 thoughts on “blunt pencils (the storyteller).

  1. I get what you mean now about how your view of the people you write about is limited.

    I think opening up is the same thing as expressing, except it’s a deeper level of expression?

    1. Maybe, but I actually look at them as distinct. A lot of things are a form or art of expressing – writing, spoken word poetry, just talking with friends and using animated facial expressions and gestures … all are a form of expressing what we feel/think- basically our responses and reactions to any topic – all topics really.

      Opening up is dependent on the topic and how far and deep we want to go – actually, you’re probably right, thinking about it now. We can express emotions etc about a lot of things and not actually reach their bottom.

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