I don’t know how long it’s been like this. Maybe forever, since I was young and tender, a wisp of a child in a world far bigger than I could have imagined. It is senseless, reckless…this strange and upending thing.
What is it?
I don’t know. I’ve never known, perhaps—only that I am detached. Sometimes only partially, in ways no one could possibly notice. Other times entirely, until I merely pass through a blur of existence.
Always wandering, wandering so far away. Into worlds beyond my own. Into untouched fields of lilies. Into places no one has ever been. Into stories not yet told.
It’s the same everywhere I go. Faces, strange and unseen, jar the wheels back into motion. Who are they? What makes them go on, despite that grim set to their lips, that tell-tale slump of their shoulders?
Sometimes, the stranger’s eyes will catch mine. Just an instant, a faint connection, then the look is gone. Was that a flash of anger in those old, liquid eyes? Or a glimmer of fear in the child’s bashful glance? Or did the woman’s perfectly-lined eyes bear the shadows of a crumbling heart?
I don’t know. I never know. Never even see them again.
Oh, what is this thing? These questions? This dazed and distant world I so often inhabit?
I go to bed with stories. I awake with new ones. My heart is marred with more scars than I could ever name, because every bullet I send into a character has inflicted me, too. I have fallen in love as many times as I have lifted my pen. I have died a hundred deaths. I have lived a thousand lives.
Oh, tell me…what is this? Is this the essence of being a writer? Is this the curse, the reward? Is this the joy, the sorrow? I hardly know myself if it is fetters holding me down, or feathers letting me fly.
And yet I am happy. In this odd, surreal little world—perhaps as small as my own mind, and yet as vast as I choose to imagine—I have found something that will live forever.
This is why I lift my pen. This is why I tell stories. This is why I am a writer.