(Continuation of “On Writing in Iran”)
One English teacher told me that writing was a process and everyone’s process was different. I laughed. A process? Ha! It’s more like a Pollack. Throw it on the ground and get mad. Maybe get a little drunk. Fling some ideas onto it and see what splatters, what oozes, what drips right off the canvas. Look at it closely and get a little paint on the tip of your nose. Then realize that your looking at abstraction and step back in exhaustion. Only to realize that amongst the chaos, you created a fractal.
I once got into a fight with my ex over cursive. He didn’t understand why they still taught cursive when all assignments could be typed up. He didn’t understand why people wouldn’t print legibly instead of writing in doodles. He just didn’t understand that without this physical representation of my swirly, compacted, blending letters, I would be voiceless. I have to see myself on paper. I have to be reminded of my home language. I have to feel my thoughts transition from some metaphysical brain plane to a visually jumbled blue inked representation. I have to see my thoughts in my writing.
And now, it is so strange to say, that I am approaching the end of my path. I look back on the moments that hurt me the most. Pain is a cruel teacher. But, I learned from those scars and calluses and I think to myself, “Maybe it was a dangerous mistake to put a pen in my hand. To leave me with the words I knew how to use but not why to use them. Because I remember them and my needle draws blood from black and blue.” You and I have made me the writer that I am.
(Continued in “On Written Knowledge”)