It started out I couldn’t talk.
Words, communication, just opening my goddamn mouth and making a couple sounds for anyone else to hear was such a trepidatious, such a terrifying thing. My hands and chest, underarms, forearms, the nape and the back of my neck would sweat so profusely, I’d just be drowning in it. Literally choking on things I couldn’t bring myself to say. Stuttering and stammering and just fucking out of control.
I swiftly decided: I’d rather not speak, rather not be heard, rather sit mute in the corner of the room and just disappear. Thank you.
Then, one day, my hand started forming the words my tongue refused to. I drew conclusions on the tails of y’s, shallow little comprehensions on the edges of m’s, perfect circular reasoning on the upwards curves of u’s, and a whole world of difference happened in between the narrow peaks of a single w.
I signed my name in sloppy curvise so you’d know it really was me.
For the first time.
A me even I had never known.
Then, slowly, those lines, those edges, those bits of character crammed in between the narrow spaces of each individual letter became exactly who I was. It took on a depth my voice just simply refused to it. Took on form and shape, shade and gradient I never possessed in stark spotlight. It smoothed the corners and rounded out the pixels, faded the edges of the me that I couldn’t bear.
I fell headlong into the craft of writing, escaping everything else, until slowly I became this — an artistic creature with at least one tangible beautiful feature to it’s name.
More than a shadow and a half thought.
More than non-existent, terrified, sweating to death.
I cling now to writing because the rest of the world is the deep end, and I — no swimmer. Though I could delve the depths of the ocean and the torrent of an on-coming six foot wave, I could not navigate myself into their presence, into their parties, into their words and turns of phrases, into their social behaviors. Too far beyond all of that had I been born. And too long apart from it had I stayed.
So, in place of reality, I made my imaginary friends real to others. I made their faces visible on the back of a piece of napkin, gave these strange lovers form in the lined rigidity of a notebook, created worlds on blank sheets and blank screens for others to see what my mind had been possessed of all along.
I made you see what I had seen because I could not come up from it.
Creativity had swallowed me whole and this: these turns of cliches and twists of venacular, were the only way back.
Now, you say I write well. You say I create a visual experience. You say I am creative.
I am only desperate to be known.
Art, naturally, takes on this form easily and wears it with grace.
Without art, I would be graceless and silent.
If not for clever little letters and structures of images that craft for me what I simply cannot — I would be utterly alone.
Instead, you wander into this room of half-light and dance with me.
Though at the end of the night, we may have never known each other at all.
I perfer this separation.
I hope you don’t mind.