Being a nonfiction writer has been my reason for not writing.
“I don’t have any assignments,” she says, her voice raising from her throat to her nose.
That excuse doesn’t cut it.
If I am a writer, it’s because writing is an essential part of my being, it makes me who I am. If I do not write, I am no longer myself, but a weaker, lesser form of whom I should be. To fail to write is to fail to fulfill my purpose. To refuse to write is to cheat myself and the world. To say writing requires having an assignment is to imply that writing is only something I’ll do if commanded and, as a result, deny what I have been calling true for as long as I can remember: that I am a writer, and words flowing from pen to page, keys to screen — to me — is better than oxygen.
The tap, tap, tap on the keyboard is synonymous with the beat of my heart, blood pumping through veins filling a body with life. If I am truly a writer — one to whom words give life and who, in turn, gives others life through words — then no assignment is necessary in order for me to piece thoughts together. The blank page calls my name and I must answer with the scratch of a pencil, a click into a Word document, a deep breath, and a new letter, word, sentence, thought.
If I am a writer, it’s because — assignment or no assignment — I seek stories to be told, words to be strung, thoughts to be shared.
Last night — two and half weeks in — I decided it’s time to start seeking the stories on New York City’s streets. (Tips welcome.)