On Writing

The bare bones of writing comes down to expressing a thought, idea, or feeling. We use it to communicate with others, as a way to convey a message we find important or personal. The bare bones doesn't care about brilliance, complexity, mistakes, or your chosen medium (pen and paper, anyone?). It's significant in only having written your word or words of choice, and the rest—be it a masterpiece, or just a grocery list—is up to you. When I was a teenager, the act of writing was a way to release, and to entertain myself. I wrote stories with characters that accurately, if not dramatically, conveyed the emotions that I had a hard time expressing in my adolescence. The themes crossed paths with things I experienced, and things that I anticipated to experience. It was my world, glittering and bright, even through the dark themes and circumstances that were written. While I didn't know it at the time, it was an important self-reflection through elaborate plot lines and quirky characters. It didn't matter that it wasn't what I had deemed publish-worthy. All that mattered was that I conveyed my feelings, and sometimes shared them with others—and with that, catharsis. I stopped writing like that years ago. These days, writing has become something of a chore. The pressures I put upon myself to just write something good, or even better than good, made my joy burn out like a candle wick. I put writing on hold while my life unraveled into the milestone of young adulthood. Through it all, I'm certain that my life would have a clearer direction, and my soul a happier glow, had I written... anything. No matter what though, I couldn't bring myself to do it, even if it were simply “Today sucked.” The desire to create was burning in my veins, but my self doubt riddled me with a hate plague I couldn't shake. Taking a look back, I knew I yearned simply for life experience. I wanted to experience without reflection, even if that took me through a lot of impulsive choices that I regret now. It also took work to sit down, focus, and write. Now, with the desire to be heard, to be seen as articulate, and with something to offer, I still struggle. The fear of a page written with utter garbage is a greater fear than of an empty one. And I want to change that—even if the page is merely filled with one word, I'll know I've put forth an effort to say something. In today's world, where everyone puts out their best image, their best work, and the edited, filtered versions of themselves—I vow to allow myself to be raw, messy, mediocre, and riddled with mistakes. To speak what's on my mind, to dare to create, to do. It's now my time for honesty, even if it masquerades as a poem, a crime drama screenplay, an essay, or an account of my day. The bare bones are all that matter, and even if to no avail, it all ends up in a graveyard—then, at least for a moment, they lived.


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Alissa Mak

Don't underestimate the power of young minds.

Hong Kong, China