Robert L. Caler

Writing has always been the thing that made my heart swell and my mind spin. I don’t know if I was ever an agreeable child. I’d like to think so, but I also know I had enjoyed spending time walking alone around the playground thinking of songs, stories, or having conversations with myself (a habit that sadly and thankfully persists). I was, for lack of a better phrase, overly dramatic. I remember crying to my father, yelling “no one tells me anything in this stupid family!” I was maybe 8 or 10. I shutter with horror recalling my objectively overwrought ways. I suppose flamboyant could be a fair adjective to tack on.

These moods and expressions had to be funneled somewhere. Writing was the first thing. Then came music with singing and instruments. I fell in love with how a lyric can touch someone. I remember clearly being in the family car, in the back seat (I am the youngest), and listening to Last Kiss by The Cavaliers playing on the FM channel. I cried. Every since, be it a melody or a phrase or a lyric, I would write it down. I still have things from my preteen days. None I wish to share.

I wrote then to make sense of myself, my environs, and to order my world view. Like most, my adolescence was a mix of fear, joy, and hormones. More joy than fear, thankfully, but plenty of hormones. And lets face it, writing is by far the safest outlet a teen can reach for. At least that I can see.

Now I write for much the same reasons, but also because I do not have it in me to stop. I’ll walk through the woods, see the shadows dancing over the flora, take out my phone, and take a picture. From this my mind gets “captured shadows,” and I’m compelled to do something with it. Not the greatest line, but it has potential. And it’s in those moments of potential that life starts to make sense to me. That I don’t have to worry about being consumed by external stimuli, since I can just catalog it for later use.

I’ve tried not writing. The world becomes grayer and insular. Distractions and pressures and tension build like dry ice in a sealed bottle. I wait for the detonation, for the release and realization that writing is breathing. It keeps my heart pumping, my mind working.

I write because I do not want to, need to, or have to stop. I write to express my perceptions and communicate with the world. I write for the hope that I will get better, regardless of how possibly futile that may be. I write because there are people that will read it; even if it’s only a friend, a lonely audience of one. that’s still something. Like so many before me I write because it is a part of me that I have no want to quell. Plus, it’s fun.