BEHIND THE WORDS
Why I Write
I like to write because I think I have something to say. I write when I feel joy. I write when I should not say what I am feeling. I write because or when I am angry. I write because no one will see my thoughts. I write when I do not know how to say what I am feeling. I write, and in it, I understand. I write because I have always believed my words are my voice. I write because, in silence, no one will hear me.
I write because I believe I can. In college, I was confident in my grammar and technical writing skills. But my teacher's response to a creative-writing assignment hinted that I had written something someone else thought was good. Her A-grade bolstered my confidence. Writing helped me achieve success throughout my career. But my desire to write stories came much later.
My first essay is a memory I recalled on a trip with childhood friends. There we were immigrant women in America, returning home after being away from our homeland, Jamaica, for almost 40-years. I found myself anxious about expectations of success. And like school reunions, an immigrant returning home can be fraught with unfulfilled dreams and unmet expectations. They tended to invite feelings of inadequacy. Still, we were all excited.
I intended to document our travel together but instead soon found myself tracking my anxieties. In the midst of it, something evoked a strong memory of my childhood. A memory I was having for the first time. I was a three-year-old barely reaching up to see through a window and looking out at a dark, stormy day.
That memory became the opening essay in my collection of essays about immigration, abandonment, and matriarchy.