CLAM HAPPY to be done with this phase and scooting into another. I have words swirling around in my head in relation to this day and this chapter (to be fair, I have words swirling around in my head relentlessly anyways), but I’m not convinced they’re able to settle on the page quite yet.
What I do know, inevitably, is the truth behind the words of Cheryl Strayed (whom I’m BOUND TO MEET SOON GOD PLEASE LET ME MEET HER BEFORE THIS RIDE IS OVER).
While writing for The Rumpus (an advice column), Strayed responds to a group of students who had just graduated from the University of Alabama with Creative Writing/English degrees. The class expressed their uneasiness toward the ambiguous rawness of the “real” world and the frustration they were anticipating as they grappled with the tendency to examine the world through lenses and perspectives most humans don’t wear or experience.
As I’ve journeyed through my collegiate career, I’ve returned to these words over and over again, finding the familiar tug in my heart-space between the sentences typed below.
I’m not positive where an English degree will take me. I’m not positive where a teaching certificate will take me (besides a classroom, perhaps 😉 )….My certainty has always been found in the stories unfolding before me.
The beginning of another book. The promise of an empty page. The spark between what is known and what is implied. The wonder in unearthing truth and depth and the fire in having the power and control to create it. The space to move and write and read and breathe in the life right before you. The ability to manipulate words to convey and relate and expand. God, I can’t imagine any other way to live. This is how my heart breathes.
I’ll leave you with Strayed.
She begins her response in writing:
[ Dear Cupcake &Team 408,
There’s a line by the Italian writer Carlo Levi that I think is apt here: “The future has an ancient heart.” I love it because it expresses with such grace and economy what is certainly true—that who we become is born of who we most primitively are; that we both know and cannot possibly know what it is we’ve yet to make manifest in our lives. I think it’s a useful sentiment for you to reflect upon now, sweet peas, at this moment when the future likely feels the opposite of ancient, when instead it feels like a Lamborghini that’s pulled up to the curb while every voice around demands you get in and drive.
I’m here to tell you it’s okay to travel by foot. In fact, I recommend it. There is so much ahead that’s worth seeing; so much behind you can’t identify at top speed. Your teacher is correct: You’re going to be all right. And you’re going to be all right not because you majored in English or didn’t and not because you plan to apply to law school or don’t, but because all right is almost always where we eventually land, even if we f**k up entirely along the way. ]
And so, here I am. Hopeful. Idealistic. Anxious.
Closing one door. Opening another.