28 September, 2022

The Story and the Hopeful Heartwoman-writing

It’s a weird little thing, being a writer.

Our abilities, our experiences as creative people all culminate in the exchange of ideas and notions meant to enable us. We learn from our mistakes. We navigate life with the gift of observance that trickles onto our work, into every aspect of who we become.

We think we know so much, but time has a specific way of making what we think we know very trivial and utterly wrong.

So, we write and experience and learn that our realities aren’t ours at all. They become the result of lessons, of mistakes, of the blatant refusal and eventual acceptance that we have no idea what we’re doing.

I used to believe that writing a great story meant writing something profound, perhaps something life altering. You want to impact change. You want to be the cleverest, the most sincere, the most respected. But over time, it comes down to the story. It comes down to the bits and pieces of life, of all our lives, that are as different and unique as the individuals living those stories. Art is meant to hold a mirror up to life. We’re meant to replicate what we feel and experience ourselves.  Part of that is expressing all aspects of the human condition. We are not inanimate objects. We are not mere observers. We love and lose. We cry, we mourn. We suffer, we argue, we let emotions and drama and complete ridiculousness overtake our good sense.

We write the story. We live the story. We are the story.

Then why is it deemed arbitrary or saccharine when those stories are good and happy and filled with passion and love and all those wonderfully horribly, brilliantly emotional aspects of the messiness of life?

So, tell the story you want. Write about dragons and knights and aliens and lovers and sex and tears and loss and all the beautiful disasters that make up your own story.

It’s what I’ve been trying to do.

I’ve been writing a story about a girl who has been loved. Who has been betrayed. Who has been shown the bright beacon of hope and had it yanked from her grasp time and time again. She’s not complicated. She’s the every girl. She’s not trivial. She is genuine. And, in my story, she falls in love. She challenges herself. She wants to get back to the serenity she once owned.

She fails. She tries again and what is left, is her surrender to what she cannot control.

What is left, is her story.

So, I’m about to set forth down a long, crowded hallway. I am walking naked, letting the world see all the scars and bruises and insecurities life has left over my body. I’m parading every flaw, every dank, dirty little secret. It is terrifying. It is exhilarating.

It is who I am. Right now. Today.

-Eden Butler