Sometimes I stare at the black page, not knowing what to say but the words always come. Sometimes they creep timidly across the screen and I can hardly bear the taste of their sound in my mouth. So most times I write freely — silencing the inner critic inside me — until the blank page is filled with words.
Writing opens up the chaos of silence; light breaks through the cracks. But it all starts with observation.
Perhaps like me, you’ve been prompted to fill an empty page with words after you observed. Maybe after overhearing nearby whispers — hushed confessions — at the lunch room at work or in the bus, you had a story to tell. Perhaps you heard a woman confess the deficiency of her womb, how fifteen babies nestled there quietly before dying inside her, and a lump formed in your throat — a lump clumped up with words that you can only dislodge by writing it out.
Writing always begins with observation. Even when we don’t notice, we are peering into the world, our eyes wide and eager to make sense of the madness that surrounds us. Sometimes we don’t realise we’ve been observing until understanding comes. Take for instance last weekend.
My husband was sick. On Thursday night his skin was so hot that I contemplated carrying him to the hospital. But Jamaica’s healthcare system is far too strenuous — it would take up to several hours before he even saw a doctor — so we decided to wait until morning to visit a private doctor instead.
The weekend was spent cooking several pots of soup: from pumpkin, to Ramen noodles to canned cream of mushroom. The weekend should have been boring — maybe even depressing since it was the first time I’d seen my husband so sick — but it was surprisingly beautiful, perhaps because it allowed me to serve him more than I usually would.
Somehow writing about my weekend here is my way of cementing what I have come to understand — that moments of sickness are opportunities for us to find greater joy in our families as we learn to serve our loved ones with our whole hearts.
Perhaps like me you have a story to tell, from personal experience or through simply observing others. What stories do you have burning inside you? Don’t let the blank page scare you. Write until the once empty page is filled with words. You’ll be surprised by what you learn — and who you become — in the process.