You Get to Stop

I’m nearing the end of my graduate program. Life is hectic, my mind is fuzzy, and my brain seems to work in reverse. I mix up numbers and letters, I put milk in the cabinet instead of the refrigerator, and every three to four months I catch myself crying in public from a song on the radio or a bird in the sky.  Bright lights make my head pound, I can’t handle people walking behind me, and I’ve convinced myself there is a recorder in my apartment transmitting information into instagram ads.

My mom is starting to worry, “Do you have schizophrenia?” She asks earnestly.

“I just need to sleep.”

“Are you on drugs?”

“I just need to sleep.”

I believe I’ve grown immensely as a student; but for some reason, transcribing what is in my head onto paper (or onto a keypad) remains the most difficult task for me. This is bold to say, but my trouble with writing isn’t geared around fear. What people think of my work, or the weird sense of pride I must have to feel it is important enough prose to share, no longer haunts me. Instead, I’ve replaced that fear with a bigger one.

An indefatigable thought that asks: What are you saying?

My thoughts are all scattered like thousands of little atoms in my head, and when they finally make their way to paper, I can’t tell if they’ve actually taken form. Have I connected this? Will anyone outside of my brain actually be able to decipher this shit? (Answers “no” amidst typing.) My mind, tongue, and fingers are disconnected. My creativity has turned into a cave that I have to spend HOURS mining in order to dig one measly little coal of shit out while strata impends above me.

Mining Art Gallery, Durham  - Testing for Gas by Ted Holloway

Maybe it would be better for me to be a miner instead of a writer? That’s a process I can understand. Dig until you’ve reached something.

For me, the trouble with writing is freedom. My work has become an open net to which the world seems to say,

Write anything.

Do anything. 

Be anything. 

But bring in a lot of fish.

I know, I know, freedom is a good thing when it’s about freeing yourself from imprisonment or hashtagging it with a selfie in a field of flowers, but really – THINK ABOUT HOW STRESSFUL FREEDOM IN CREATIVITY IS.  It is a boundless restraint that pulls and shapes from nothing. It is unable to be defined, but your very task is to claim some sort of definition or meaning or purpose. I can’t piece together a shape in space. I can barely piece together a PB&J, and I’m growing sick of the cyclic quest to unsay and redefine. Can’t I just be here, defined amongst everyone else? Freedom only tangles in more complexities I have to sift through.

You’re free. Here is

a knife

a headlight

a trekking pole

a compass.

Go find something creative.



4 thoughts on “You Get to Stop

  1. Congratulations on almost being done, Cap! Finishing that much schooling is a huge accomplishment.

    Have you ever thought about taking freedom away in your writing? Writing in fixed verse, for example, is helpful in taking certain creative choices out of the process and forcing a writer to focus on other artistic decisions. Or, I think it is freeing to write a technical document, like a write-up on a yoga routine or an instruction manual on how to install light fixtures, then find ways to add creativity. You could write up a yoga routine based on the ancient movements of home decor: “Don’t forget to breathe and slowly come in to Downward End Table with a rustic patina.” Just an idea.

    Anyways, sorry for being over familiar and long-winded. Love your writing and keep up the great work. And, again, congrats on almost being done! :–) 100%



    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your writing Cap,It soothes my soul,touches my heart and makes me realize ,I’m worthy of myself.Something I’ve never been able to do for myself.
    Thank God for all your beautiful writings.
    May many more come in the new year.
    Love you and bless you abundantly!!!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s