Monday, October 29

Peter Pan

My highschool graduation is only two weeks and a half away.  At the start of the year, I dreaded it.  At the end of my third term holidays, to finish was all I wanted.  And now, only two and a half weeks from the date that has caused me so many mixed emotions, a new concern sets in.  

I am struggling to come to terms with the idea of growing up.  This is not about being scared to go to university, or about the new expectations, responsibilities, and opportunities that I'll be presented with as I grow up.  This is about me being a child.  I am not scared at all about losing my inner child or my sense of wonderment as I grow up, but I am having a sort of mid-way to mid-way-to-midlife-crisis crisis involving my status as a child.  

Frankly, I don't feel that I'm old enough to leave school, go to university, drive a car etcetera etcetera.  For goodness sake, I look exactly like I did in my preschool photo.  My chubby cheeks are hereditary (apparently) and I'll never grow out of them.  I even have the same haircut.  Last year's grade 12 students looked years older than us, and acted older too.  But when I'm feeling emotional, there is often nothing that I feel I need more than Mum's hug.  Sometimes I am in a position (most commonly connected to using public transport) where I feel I desperately need to have Dad say "it's alright, we won't miss the stop", or just take me out of that situation entirely by giving me a lift and not putting me through the torment of bussing it.  

Emotionally, I am not grown up.  I am not independent and super-confident.  I can't drive, I don't have a mobile phone, the furthest from home I've been by  myself is the shopping centre half an hour away.  I get scared on public transport, and I do need to cry to someone every now and again.  And it's alright, because I'm still so very young, and I don't have to be yet.  But if feels like ending school is the point where I have to stop being a kid.  It's not and I don't need to convince myself that it is.  Perhaps in this way, I'm far behind a lot of kids my age - kids who are desperate to ditch their homes and parents to live independent lives.  But maybe my concerns about growing up are an advantage, as I get to see the value that my family has to me for security and validation.  

Monday, October 15

Art to Understanding

Since finishing my book, (I am editing, illustrating and thinking about publication), I have found a new level of contentment, excitement, aspiration, and inspiration.  I never realised it at the time, but now reflecting on my writing process, I understand that writing, and most importantly, finishing that book was an emotional breakthrough for me.  I wasn't struggling through emotional turmoil so much as I was proving to myself that I could do it.  I could write a book.  The whole thing was completely instinctive and intrinsic.  It was as though my body knew better than I did its motives for inspiration and passion.  And now, alive and well on the other side, I have been given an overwhelming sense of confidence and identity.   

I always knew that I was a writer, but actually finishing a book that I am proud of gives it so much certainty.  I always have and always will experience a certain level of doubt and fear, but now this accomplishment has shown me that regardless of my terrors and qualms, I can write and I will write.  I was given the confidence to rise above these things, and furthermore, the concrete identity of a writer.  Of course, writer is only one of many aspects of my identity, some of which include wonderer, observer, dreamer, maker, story-teller, listener, and lover.  But now I feel that no one could possibly ever ever ever ever argue that I'm not a writer.  I am a writer.  

The burst of confidence and accomplishment has lavished me also with ideas.  If you remember, I had started keeping a Commonplace Book at Lemony Snicket's advice, and within the last few days, I have been constantly scribbling words, places, observations and thoughts.  I feel like the completion of my book has given me a pass into a new stratosphere of inspiration.  

I have already begun to discuss ideas for a new story with my mum.  The concept is deeply personal and reflective.  Mum made an observation.  She suggested that this book allows me to explore myself - my feelings and every aspect of my personality - as I experience revelation of self-awareness and love.  And that awakened me to another thought.  

How incredible is it that literature, art, dance, drama and music give those who make them a vehicle to a place of understanding.  Writing for me is a medium through which, sometimes unconsciously, I  can reflect, ask questions, vent, and problem-solve.  Perhaps I will understand myself better after it, or perhaps I will have only acknowledged the complexity and beauty of my emotional state.  Neither is better than the other.  Can you see now how people who use the arts, whether they consciously know it or not, are given a great opportunity to improve their emotional health?  It amazes me to imagine how many do not experience it.  

Friday, October 5

My Book is Finished

I have finished my book.  I typed the last word at about 12 o'clock, the 5th of October, 2012.  This is enormous.  This is immense.  This is incredible.  

My plan for the book consisted of fifteen green post-it notes on my wall.  As a final act of completion, I pulled this off.  The act was like plucking leaves from a tree.  The wall is so bare.  

As I wrote the final scene of the last chapter, my heart was racing just like it does when you're about to perform in a play or a dance recital.  The ending was heartbreaking for me.  The end scene gave me the grieving process that I knew that I would need.  I have said my goodbyes, sobbed on two different shoulders and smiled so widely it seemed my lips would snap like rubber bands.  

I am so proud of this book.  My mother says that it is timely.  I wrote a book with a sub-current of 'saying goodbye' just as I prepare to leave school and wish farewell to many people that I'll never see again.  I wrote without realising that what I was doing was making a transitional object, building a bridge into a new phase of my life.  I am proud enough of this book, this dear, personal, sacred book, for it to be my début work.  However, when I look back upon it, thirty, forty, fifty years in the future, this book will shine out to me as a part of my teenaged soul.  

It is not a foreign body to me.  It is completely and totally a part of me.  It is a diary entry, a dream, a hope, a legend, a cry, a whisper, a message in a bottle, a present state of being.  Today, this book is me.  I will grow, but that will not make it less me.  In years time, it will be me-of-the-past.  Me-of-the-future can always cherish and remember this present.  

What a joy, and what a triumph!  I reward and thank myself for this story with a cup of tea and a good cry.  The book is about stories and feelings.  This book holds the current essence of my as a writer.  I want this book to be my début.  

I don't know when I will get it published, but within the next two years, my university course in creative writing will teach me to present a literary work to a publisher.  Perhaps that will be the time for it.  Or perhaps the time is sooner.  Let us see.