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Not Everyone Can Write

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Do you remember grade school? Do you remember when your teacher handed back your first writing assignment and told you that you needed to find your 'voice'? Do you remember not knowing what the hell that even meant? You probably realized, at that point, that you were not meant to be a writer.   

It isn't anything to be ashamed of, and it's nothing that can be changed. Those who are meant to write are born with a voice. It is always there, sitting in the back of their head, narrating their life as they go through everyday motions. It is always there making constant commentary, filling the writer's head with fantastic stories that, on paper, don't seem to make quite as much sense. The voice is like its own drug. It makes you move slower, it makes your eyes lose focus during conversations, it gives you delusions of grandeur and in some cases, delusions of wit. The voice shapes who you become as a writer, as a person.   

It only gets worse as you get older. Eventually, the voice will have a name, and it will never be clear as to when you discovered it or how. Once you know the voice's name it only becomes stronger, and your problems become greater. The commentary in your head is more constant. You could swear that you actually hear the voice, ricocheting off the walls of your skulls. You can distinguish its laughter. Its emotions color yours. Things that once made you laugh make you cringe because of how uncouth they are. And you know that that's just the voice talking. That snotty writer's voice in your head.  

You lose entire spaces of your memory. You don't remember sharing that Facebook post, but you did, apparently. It starts out as small things like that, but then the spaces start becoming larger and more significant. You don't remember slamming your fist into the face of that smug bastard who was giving you a hard time in line, over and over again. But you did, apparently.   

The voice is more of you than you realize, even if it has a different name.  My voice's name is Anthony. I can tell you everything about him, even what he looks like. I can tell you that he's five foot nine, that he has short black ringlets and faded royal purple eyes. I can recognize his voice anywhere. Sometimes, I will be sitting alone at my computer writing and I will hear it for a split second, close to my ear. It used to make me jump. Now it's easy to ignore.  On a good day, Anthony is just a voice in my head. On his worst days, he likes to make an appearance just to make sure I am giving him enough attention. He used to stick to mirrors, but then he started hitting any reflective surface when I learned to avoid those. He likes to appear in the TV screen when it is turned off. Or, lately, he has taken to appearing in the reflective surface of my laptop screen. Even now, as I type, I can see him from the corner of my eye. Slouched against the wall, hands in his pockets, purple eyes just staring at me, wanting attention. He has a sharp, toothy white smile that unnerves me on the best of days. It makes me nervous, so I concentrate on what I'm typing and don't glance towards the corners of the screen. Maybe that's his goal, to make me concentrate.   

Our voices are our best companions. At night we can fantasize about them. We can slide under the covers and feel their fingers, hear their whispers. Our voices keep us satisfied - Anthony keeps me satisfied. It is the best way to isolate an author, to take care of their needs so that they have no desire to seek out anyone else. And when the voices become unbearable, all it takes is a splash of whiskey to drown them out for a small amount of time. Long enough for them to calm down.   

Sometimes, however, we are left alone for too long. The voice's opinions becomes indistinguishable from our own thoughts. We are so alone that we welcome the faces appearing in the corners of our screens. We love hearing the whispers next to our ear. We don't want to feel like we have holed ourselves away in one room of one house for the rest of our lives, to drink nothing but rum and to eat nothing but cheetos until we die of malnutrition, an overdose of brilliance. We think we have friends because Tumblr tells us we do. We think we have feelings because we cry when we read a sad story.   

The scariest thing is, every writer eventually comes to the realization that it doesn't matter what they do. Nothing in life will have a negative consequence. A writer can visit their coffee shop every day, and every day they can sip lattes and type idly on their computer and search for the face in the screen. And they can look over the rims of their laptops and see the girl sitting at the table across from them, and they can elaborately plot out the exact way they would invite her to their place, and drug her with some untraceable, foreign drug. They can plan on how they would defile her, torture her, and ultimately kill her. They can plan on what would happen if they got caught, but thoughts of prison are not daunting. They can never be alone, they will always have the voice, always have their creativity. Thoughts of guilt are not even an option. Why would they be guilty? It would be romantic, would it not? To whisk a sweet young blonde away and get so caught up in passion that you killed her, ate her, and stuffed the rest down the garbage disposal? Just thoughts. Just silly, fleeting writer's thoughts.  

The difference between a writer and a serial killer is that a writer knows when to avert their eyes and go back to typing out their thoughts, sharing a secret smile with the reflection of their inspiration.   

That's why not everyone can write. 

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