To Quill the Mocking World
By Samarth Bharani
The thirteen year old girl inside me made me write this, I swear.
The other day, as I was sitting on my favorite park bench reading, a girl I’d never met before came up and sat next to me, like it was the most normal thing in the world. I figured she was waiting for someone, but she turned towards me and asked me, “You’re him aren’t you?”
I was a bit surprised, but I nodded and asked, “And you would be?”
“Teach me how to write please,” she asked, seemingly ignoring my question.
Now, its not often people ask me about my work, but whenever they do, it’s always about how they could learn to write like me. I sighed, looking at the girl. She seemed eager and young enough, but the fact that she thought someone could ever learn how to write was troubling.
“What would you like to write?” I asked.
“Teach me how to write poetry, that dreamy poetry you always seem to write,” she replied.
“Well, for starters, it helps if you know what you want to write about,” I suggested.
“I think that’s my biggest problem. I never know what to write about,”
I understood her problem perfectly. Learning to write was one thing, but choosing what to write was so much harder.
“Write about anything,” I suggested. “It can be about the fresh morning dew that sparkles like tiny diamonds in the field. The smell of freshly cut grass and the way it feels in between your toes. The expression on your dog’s face as he runs towards you as you make your way down the stairs. The cool winter air that greets you as you first open the door. And the way the sunlight bounces off your dog’s fur as he runs around,”
She looked at me, smiling, but said, “But what if I don’t have a dog?”
“Then write about your best friend. About how you think his freckles look adorable, even though he’s twice your size. About how on sunny days he always shields you from the sun, even though he sunburns easily. About the way the corner of his mouth twitches when he tells you a white lie and how his mother loves you more than him and always bakes the best apple pies,”
She smiled a little more now. “I wish I had a friend like that, I really do. But what I really want to write about is how I feel,”
“Ah feelings. Write about the claustrophobia you feel when you’re all alone in your house. Write about the way your heart skips a beat as you walk through dark alleyways and your relief when you see the light. Write about how it feels to be perpetually tired but never able to sleep. Write about -”
At this point, she grazed my hands with her own, as if signalling me to stop. “No, I want to write about love,”
“Love, well, that’s a little more complicated. Write about the way you feel butterflies in your stomach every time your eye catches his. Write about how your voice is always stuck in your throat when he mentions your name. About how the tears messed with your mascara as you found purple lipstick on his collar. About how he fed you vodka soaked lies as he -”
She stopped me again, this time with a finger to my lips.”No, I don’t want to write about that. I want to write about true love,” she said, taking my hands in hers. I was a little surprised, but her eyes seemed honest, so I went on.
“I’m sorry,” I said and the smile faded from her lips. “But even I can’t write about true love,”
“But I’ve read dozens of your poems where you talk only about love,” she said, her hands gripping mine a smidgen tighter.
“All I’ve written about was hollow love. Those fleeting crushes people have when they’re younger. The sort of love that is extinguished by violent winds instead of burning brighter. I can’t write about the way Elizabeth loves Mr. Darcy or about how Scarlett loves Rhett. I simply can’t,”
“And why not?”
“Because only those who have experienced true love can write about it,” I said, simply.
Her hands fell limp, towards her sides. I was angry with myself. For getting angry at her. How could she have known?
“You mean-” she started, but I cut her off.
“Yes,”, I said simply. “And besides,” I went on, figuring I might as well get this over with, “Nobody can teach you how to write. Writing isn’t something you do. It’s something from within. Something that’s buried deep within you that bursts out because it has to. You don’t write because you can, you write because unless you do, the ideas in your head threaten to take over every waking thought and every ragged breath,”
“I see,” she said, in quiet contemplation. I turned away from her, realizing I had nothing left to say. I got up to leave, but felt her hands tugging at my sleeve.
“You’ve inspired me,” she said with a smile.
“I’m glad,” I said, the features of my face softening considerably. I was still a bit confused, but her warm smile seemed to lift my spirits.
“Thank you for helping me with my problem,” she said, slowly dusting herself.
“And I think I know of the perfect way to thank you,”
“And whats that?”
And without another word, she leaned in and kissed me.
Inspiration comes in many forms. Often it’s most powerful when it catches you by surprise.
When Samarth isn’t designing websites for foreign startups, experimenting with new recipes on Epicurious, or slashing through the hordes of monsters in the Witcher 3, he can usually be found lost in his own thoughts on life, love and art. If you ever run into him in a coffee shop, please approach him only from the front. He scares easy.