The Wayne Stater

How writing led to a revival

Erika Schwartz, Staff Writer

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This week I signed up for my last semester of my undergraduate career. As I did so, I couldn’t help thinking about how quickly the last four years have gone, and how much I have grown up and changed since my parents dropped me — wide-eyed and naïve — off on the front steps of Berry Hall.

Four years ago, I wasn’t prepared or aware for how much my heart and soul would transform and evolve. I fully intended to dive in to my health science major and never look back. But that was before I truly understood how essential being an artist and creator was to my spirit.

I never meant to be a writer. I led myself down paths toward things I thought I wanted, thought I loved. I tried everything in my power to avoid the life of a whimsical creator. I never meant to end up here — spewing my innermost thoughts onto scraps of paper just because I have nowhere else to go with them.

I never really knew my soul was dying or my life was missing something essential until I stumbled upon the beauty of words. I stared into the eyes of a poem and realized my spirit was crumbling, right before my eyes. It was like looking in the mirror and truly seeing myself for the first time.

You see, I never meant to be a writer. I never knew I needed to be. Some people write for fun or as a hobby or as a job they never really wanted in the first place. But I write to live.

I am a writer because it is a matter of life or death. I write because words are my oxygen and they seep through my pores and fingertips and find their way onto a page. I don’t write out of habit or because someone asks me to or because I don’t have anything else to do with my time. I write, because if I don’t — I am nothing. I will suffocate.

I’ve learned to write every feeling and every thought, because keeping them inside is toxic. Things only prove more difficult if I don’t get them out of my system. There are things I can’t keep in — they become words escaping from my fingertips faster than I ever thought possible. Broken, soulful words stacked up next to each other. Words that healed my broken spirit and brought me closer to the sun.

Words, like oxygen, have breathed life back into my soul. They saved me from a life without light and rescued the core of myself from toxicity and venom. They forced my lungs to inhale and exhale when every ounce of my body wanted to collapse.

Words are my soul revival.

So, for anyone who might feel as if you have lost your way, I hope you diligently search until you find what revives your spirit. And when you do find it — whatever it may be — hold on to it for dear life. Clutch it close to your heart and let it wrap its arms around your soul. It could truly be the difference between life or death. I hope you cling to anything that brings you a little closer to the sun.

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How writing led to a revival