Why I Write (in 450 words)
Storyteller: John Gillespie
Perhaps in another life, somewhere far beyond the boundaries of these American borders, on some distant African village, I toyed with juju, questioned the powers of the Gods, spoke in the sunshine of the public square about justice and injustice, and passed out spell books on the way to eternal life. And then, when I faded away into the dust, I was reborn into some new form of inquirer. I conversed with the multitude about right and wrong; I spoke about human suffering and searched all of human understanding to know how to put an end to it; I mixed potions and chemicals to form the perfect elixir of life; I was an alchemist, searching for the philosopher’s stone among the few moments left ticking in a fragile life that dangled by the string of an invisible pendulum. Maybe, when I rose again, I was a slave, who bore the whips of oppression and sung the songs of a Gospel that in any given moment liberated enslaved spirits with lyrics of freedom, all while constructing an hourglass made of sticks, stones, and dust that I found to keep track of time and to keep track of my own livelihood – my own being. Yes, and when I died, I must of rose again as I am today with a similar purpose and a similar search. I must have exchanged spell books with potions and potions with stick, stones, and dust, and stick, stones, and dust for a notebook journal and paper. I must have exchanged juju with alchemy, alchemy for an hourglass, and an hourglass for a pen. I must have exchanged questioning the Gods for understanding human suffering, and understanding human suffering with uplifting those in the conditions of slavery, and uplifting those in the conditions of slavery with seeking to understand all of the above. Yes, this is why I write. I write because I have found that a pen has the power to create Gods, destroy human suffering, uplift slaves, and transcend current understanding. I write because there is something elegant about mixing linguistic chemicals in order to find the perfect potion to rejuvenate a crying populace. I write because the only thing more beautiful than describing the motions of a spirit full of a joy after its first experience of liberation must be the actual experience. I write because the fear of death lives within me, and the fear of not-truly living lives stronger. I write because I have found that writing is the infinite hourglass, the elixir of life, and the road to eternity, I have been searching for since the beginning of time.