Why I Started Writing

Maybe I’ve already written about this. It’s been five years since I started this blog. That’s incredible when you think about it. This little sucker would be about to start kindergarten if it were a human. As it is, my guess is that it is slowly gaining sentience and someday soon will start its own blog that captures the idiosyncrasies of life as a non-binary, millennial blog.

But I digress.

I wanted to write about writing. The world is crashing down around our ears, Northern California is on fire again, and I’m doing my best to find some semblance of meaning in it all.

I learned about words at a young age. This is a memory I have, maybe a false memory, but I can’t imagine anyone bothering to tell it to me and there certainly isn’t a photograph attached, so it’s as real as I can make it: I was maybe four years old. We were living in the house on Tecumseh Drive. My siblings and I all had these little wooden cut outs that spelled our names. The letters were in pastel colors and fit into their shapes on the board.

I was playing with the letters, fitting them into their little carved out shapes, swapping the two “A’s” back and forth to see which one looked better when it suddenly clicked for me, as satisfying as the slide of the letter into its spot, these letters were spelling my name. These letters meant me. Anyone who read the letters would think of me.

I ran into the kitchen, so excited to share my discovery, and that was when I knew I wanted to be a writer.

There were, of course, other moments: the nightly tradition of our mom reading to us (thanks, Ma!); that fateful day when I read “The Lord of the Rings” for the first time; ditto when I read “One Hundred Years of Solitude”. Then there was high school and I found writing as a solace and a way to keep track of my flimsy sense of self. There was my senior year project in which I wrote a series of terrible fairy tales. College and finally taking a writing class. Starting this blog. Getting published for the first time.

But none of these moments would have happened without that first spark of recognition. I was present in the word and the word was me.

That’s why when I came out last year as non-binary, I knew I needed to keep some aspect of my name the same. Hence “Laur” which maintains the core of me while losing the overtly feminine ending. (I always thought the extra “A” was somewhat superfluous.)

I believe, as I have believed since I was four, that words give us meaning, that the stories we tell shape reality as it is and help us envision the world as it could be. So even now, with the world falling to pieces, with all the screams of apocalypse, I continue to write. I write about the world as it could someday be, with the faith that my writing it makes it that much more possible. I don’t believe the world will end around me. I believe that I and the others out there like me, committed to making a better more just more sustainable world, will succeed.

I believe in writing, because writing has always helped me believe in myself.

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