Deep within

by Camelia Miron Skiba

Giving up—that’s how I feel lately. Pack all notebooks, all books, pens and papers in boxes, tape them shut and burn them all. Erase all files, all manuscripts and clean my computer of anything and everything reminding me of writing. Books I’ve written, books I am in the process of writing and books I plan on writing—delete them all from my computer and from my memory. Why bother? Why torment myself every day trying to write another word, another paragraph, another chapter? Why spend hours talking to imaginary people, listening to their stories, always incomplete and conflicting, always leaving the hardest parts to me—putting it all together into a manuscript? Why bother?

The answer is . . . I don’t know. It’s almost like something out there, something bigger than me, a force I can’t see, name or touch keeps me bound in front of the computer, stroking the keyboard into the next word, the next paragraph the next chapter. The same force torments me when I don’t write, showing me the world in colors I don’t want to see, nagging me to return to the keyboard, pushing me to find the next piece to the puzzle, and the thing I hate the most, making me so fully aware of how empty I feel without writing.

I’m doomed if I write, doomed if I don’t. I’m the happiest and the saddest at the same time, a toxic state of mind that tears through me like hot blades. I’ve been on both sides of the fence—writing like a madman and not writing at all—and let me tell you, I hurt on both sides.

And then, the moment of truth came last night, when watching the trials for the Paralympics I saw amputees athletes running, blind athletes long-jumping and wheel-chaired athletes speeding toward the finish line. My heart stopped watching one amputee runner whose prosthetics broke and he tumbled to the ground. I began crying at the sight of him, his arms beating the air in a desperate attempt to finish the race.

How do they do it? What drives them, what motivates them to look past their disabilities and reach for the stars? I tell you what: it’s called love, passion for something greater and bigger than any obstacle. As if a light came on, I felt ashamed for my shortcoming and the self-pity I sunk into for a while now.

Sure, giving up is easy. Pack, delete, burn, I can do whatever I want. Or, I can keep writing because there is no gain where there is no pain and there is no reward without trial. And trial is called creation and creation means life.