I write because I can’t stop. And, yes, I’ve tried quitting. More than once.
The longest time I managed to quit writing was for a period of about four years, while I was an undergraduate at York University. After I graduated, and because I didn’t know what to do with myself, I hadn’t yet found myself, I returned to York as a non-degree student and took a couple creative writing classes. The shortest period of time I’ve quit for… oh, I didn’t clock it, but it was probably five minutes or so. This not a fickle end, but a moment where I needed to quit, desperately, if only for those five minutes.
I quit every other day, every other week, every other month, and at least forty times a year.
But in my life, I’m not generally a quitter. I set out to do what I do and I (mostly) succeed. I’m terrible at my introductory adult ballet class—but I won’t quit, no matter how much my quads ache or the leotard digs into my not-for-ballet body.
But we’re talking about writing here, and not dance. Writing is heavy lifting of ideas, experiences, words, and the indescribably, through lives I have not lived, not yet, won’t ever, and versions of lives I have. But writing is at its core storytelling. And storytelling is part of the fabric of what makes me the person I am. It’s part of how this brain of mine is wired, how this body of mine makes sense of this world.
So those moments when I quit writing, I’m learning to see them for what they are, pauses rather than ends, breaks rather than broken narratives, resting space for the mind and body rather than a final keystroke, a final word, a final story. Because storytelling doesn’t end—doesn’t ever end—and so I pause, and so I write.