I write because I don’t have any choice not to. When I’m sad, when I’m overwhelmed, when I need to make sense of the world – it leads me straight to the page. I started by playing “town” in grade school, writing scenes for a collection of invented characters, moved on to horribly overwrought poetry in middle school and have written novels since high school.
Believe me, if there were any other way I could get emotions out, I would take it. Writing often feels almost physically painful. I have to go through a ritual to make myself sit down to do it. Phone off. Browser off. Hair up in a bun on top of my head, held up by a pencil – not a pen. Then I can sit down to type. Ritual matters. It took me 3 years after quitting smoking to write anything again. I was afraid without a cigarette to get me started, I’d never write anything again. Then I had to again. I envy people who can express themselves in music or art. I sing like a wounded hippo and even my stick figures sometimes confuse. But words are my friends, my refuge, my go to. It is the only thing I know. Still, like Dorothy Parker, I loathe writing, but I love having written.
Suki van Dijk is a writer, yogini, and mom, living in Westchester County, NY and currently hard at work on her first novel. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and Bank Street College of Education.