Monday, May 15, 2017


Untitled, Unmastered

by Vision Rollins

“So the point of my keeping a notebook has never been, nor is it now, to have an accurate factual record of what I have been doing or thinking. That would be a different impulse entirely, an instinct for reality which I sometimes envy but do not possess.” - Joan Didion.

In my life, writing has always taken on many forms. Writing can range from a formal essay intended
for school, or just to simply sit down and write music or to jot down random sentences that somehow form into poetry. No matter what kind of writing I am doing, whether it be intentionally focused or unintentional drabble, I can count on two things: my writings will always be inconsistent and will remain free flowing.

I cannot, much like Joan Didion, keep an accurate, hard record of what I have been doing or thinking. I cannot sit down and reflect over my day through pen and paper, or keyboard and screen. I cannot even stop to think about how I feel and write that down piece by piece; I cannot keep a diary. What I can do is take my own emotions and develop them into something completely different.

I can add fiction to non-fiction and fact to fantasy, music to words, but I cannot be consistent.

Little ideas pop up at random times unexpectedly, and if I were to actually keep a diary, the pages would be days- even weeks apart- nothing steady. Writing is not something that I like or dislike. Writing is something that is either mandatory or unexpected. Bottom line, I cannot escape it even if I wanted to.

My biggest “writing reinforcer” in my life would have to be my father. He always tells me, “Daughter, you have to write.” Admittedly, I don’t like to do it because he literally says it for everything. If I’m feeling down he tells me to write about it. If I’m really happy he tells me to write about it. Or to always write music. Ever since I began playing the guitar he has always been encouraging me to write music because he believes, at my age, writing is one of the best outlets for my emotions. I understand what he means, I see his point, but it is not that easy. Just because I’m feeling lonely doesn’t make a notebook my best friend. I can’t just pick up my guitar when I’m angry and play my heart out to express my feelings; that just isn’t me. Sometimes I wish it was. Sometimes I wish that I could express myself through words, but I just can’t force it to happen.

When I write, it happens on it’s own. Some days- those rare days- I can write three songs in two hours. When I write those songs, I like to abandon them for a few moments and pick up an instrument to bring it to life, and when that happens the creative spark dies. I’m focused. I’m working. When I forget about the words and focus on the sound, that takes all the energy out of me to the point where I don’t want to write for a while. I can’t write anything else. That’s when those long intervals of days start. The whole process is draining. Way too draining to enter into just because I’m feeling a certain way. I can’t tap into it, it has to tap into me first.

Writing isn’t all bad by any means and to say that I hate it is a reach- a far reach. Like I stated before, it isn’t something that I like or dislike, it’s just something that happens when it happens. When I am in school and I’m given a writing assignment, I honestly hold off on it until the last minute because I don’t know how to start. Unless the topic is especially gripping, I have to sit and wait for reality to hit me (that’s it's due in like, an hour. Hurry up, girl!) in order to really get into it, but once I’m into it I’ve got it. It is that initial pull and initial drive that I lack because I know how I operate and I know how I function; I know that I could be spending my time doing something that I actually enjoy (napping) than writing an essay about how I feel about writing an essay (no offense). If I can’t write on my own terms, if I can’t create by my own say, I need a push to get me going and that push happens to be time. Everyone is different and everyone knows what works for them. It may seem crazy or irresponsible to you, but time is with me more than it is against me. If I write and complete a paper three days before the deadline, I will go back and change absolutely everything. Things that were once pure, emotions and thoughts that were once untainted, have to be completely changed because my views have changed. I’m looking at what I’ve created from a new perspective, a new pair of lenses, and even full length analysis and paragraph based evidence has to be changed to fit into who I am that day. Maybe I’ve gotten more information, maybe I’ve noticed that I rushed it and could have added too little detail or too much. I used to always do this and in result I’d get bags under my eyes from staying up deep hours of the night working to get it right, to fit my new definition of right. I’ve learned from that, and instead I use time to work for me instead of against me. Everything I feel I get it out before the deadline. All of the evidence, all of the questions and quotes I get before the deadline. I do it once because the first time is always the best time. I work with time.

Joan Didion reminds me of myself more than I’d like to admit. “At no point have I ever been able successfully to keep a diary; my approach to daily life ranges from the grossly negligent to the merely absent, and on those few occasions when I have tried dutifully to record a day's events, boredom has so overcome me that the results are mysterious at best.” I lose interest in writing quickly. It isn’t a hobby, it isn’t an outlet; if I based my living off of writing I’d be broke or on the verge of death. I do it when I have to. It’s not gripping unless I make it gripping, it’s not spontaneous unless I make it spontaneous and that can only happen with time as a push factor or a wave of inspiration. Without that I have nothing. When I write for myself it’s strictly for myself. I don’t care about what the reader may think because I am the reader. I don’t care if the listener doesn’t understand the song because I didn’t write it for them, I wrote it for myself. Unless I have to write in school I don’t take the reader into consideration because I am my own audience. I only care about the reader when I have to. I only consider my audience when I have to. In most occasions, I only write when I have to.

When I create something, I usually take pride in it. I can look back at my old pieces or essays and usually feel proud of what I’ve produced. Especially when it comes to school, because I know writing it a couple of hours before the deadline was so worth it. No matter how it gets done, no matter what drove me to do it, at the end of the day I can say that I am proud. It could be the worst essay known to man or the crappiest, cheesiest, most generic song that will ever fall upon man’s ears (second to MMMBop) but I did it. Taking pride in your writing is important. Writing is a journey for a lot of people and it can take a lot out of you but at the end of the day, you’ve made it. It’s a process and it’s a cycle but you did it. And whether you like it or not, whether I like it or not, we’ll find ourselves
doing it again and again. Loving or hating what comes out of it in the end, just to start a new.

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