“Write the poem you're afraid to write because it's the only one worth writing.”
Those words ring so loud and clear and true that they haunt my thoughts on a loop. I know what story terrifies me into silence and have known it longer than I have known the true drive to become a writer. Even these sentences dumbfound me into double-thinking my every word with the finality of the ink drying on the screen. I recall fondly and with heartbreak an essay I wrote in the only notebook I have ever filled with non-academic work. I only had a scant handful of unfilled pages before the notebook vanished in the atomic fallout of multiple surgeries, gaining and losing employment in a month, having the woman I fell for tell me she did not want me, my dad's death and my complete inadequacy to render effective, life-saving aide, having that same woman I loved declare her love for me almost exactly twenty-four hours after spurning my love for someone else, and becoming homeless all within a six week period of 2011.
While I have no ability to recall essentially every piece collected in that notebook, I do distinctly remember and have held on to an idea I had one day in class about a good-looking woman that sat in the row just ahead of me. We typically sat in the same seats which gave me the perspective to appreciate her stunning blonde locks and beauty, though only the occasional passing word. One day while sitting in that class, my thoughts trailed off from Western Civilization II and I found myself exploring the idea of immortality as it applies to the written word which quite literally exemplifies recorded history. My point largely rested upon the premise that putting pen on paper to describe this woman made her immortal and encapsulated in the moment of that lecture, that essay, that ink across the page. As such, everything she wore, said, and gestured allowed me to capture her volatile temporal existence.
This idea that my words could capture her essence in such a way that anyone could read it and allow their own mind to reconstruct her character thus taking on another plane of existence withing the mind of that reader. That concept and power emboldens me to and terrifies me away from writing the story I fear to write.