The cursor is steadily blinking at me, silently begging my fingers to give in and start tapping away. It takes some time, perhaps because it has been so long and my thoughts now feel so scattered. Fingers finally follow suit and thoughts begin to spill out like water released from a kink in a hose.
Much like muscles used for running or fingers trained to adeptly move over piano keys, writing habitually was a comforting partner whose strength I took for granted. As weeks, months and eventually years passed me by, writing slipped lower on the list of priorities and eventually lost all its strength.
After so many years, why bother flexing my writing muscles again, I ask myself. I have not picked up a writing utensil for much else other than to jot down a quick grocery list, to-do list or help a child with learning words and numbers. These writing muscles are atrophied, no doubt. They are not beyond repair, however hopeless it may feel. They are simply languishing beneath layers of sleepless nights, filled-to-the-brim days, and old Cheerios silently trying to decompose underneath the car seats. (Spoiler: Cheerios last forever, truly.)
When I think back to how often I wrote creatively, one word that keeps coming back to mind for why I stopped is melancholy. Melancholy is “a gloomy state of mind, especially when habitual or prolonged.” (Merriam-Webster), which sounds like I was having a terrible time the last four years. Life changed drastically, covering the spectrum of wonderful to awful.
Melancholy is closely entwined with grief. It is perfectly fine to simultaneously be content in the present and grieve the life you once had. I know, because the past four years of adding two more children to our family have reflected that constant paradox. Writing from a state of melancholy is sacred. Writing during a pandemic, racial unrest and natural disasters feels trivial. Writing is cathartic.
I make no promises, save one. That I will continue to strengthen these weak writing muscles, always valuing quality over quantity.
In case anyone else besides my spouse is reading this, thank you for coming on this winding journey with me.