Sasha Mishkin

Writing is like floating into a dreamy garden where the colors are so vibrant, they speak; where the calmness is so soothing, it cradles; and where the beauty is so abundant, everything smiles. In this garden, my presence seems so right and natural, it’s like it’s been waiting for me. I like to believe it has been. Every story I write is a magical city—one where history is alive, where romance breathes and where lifelong dreams become beautiful, character-driven realities.

Typing is like picturing myself in Paris, where my sophistication whirls with cigarette smoke clouds and men ogle as I take languid sips of wine. With each new nourishing word, mesmerizing sentence, tempting character, and tantalizing scene, stories become a part of me; becoming tethered to my very being.

I’ve never felt a connection to anything as I do to writing. Each time I sit to write, it feels like something is breaking inside of me—an overwhelming darkness that consumes and destroys, but in the end creates beautiful magic. In the end of it all, writing is like seeing a million stars light up a massively dark sky. In the end, writing is everything.

But it is not the end. At least not for me. At 28, and at every age until now, I have felt that being young and callow has made me fearless in my writing. But in truth, I don’t have many experiences to pull from. What hard truth of life have I learned for myself? My vulnerability doesn’t stem from marriage and family life and financial burdens, because I have none. I am young, or so I’m told, brimming with a bright future and endless potential, so I’m also told. What I tell myself is that I am arrogant while lacking confidence. And I think all 20-something year olds relate to this feeling of steadily playing a part or expressing a version of themselves while shakily learning who they truly are.

Being 28 right now, I’m not smart enough to dazzle people with my intellect, but I have moments of gilded pretension. I’ve traveled but haven’t seen the world. I’ve dated, but haven’t settled down. Whether lamenting my age or celebrating it, I don’t believe there is a story there. So I do my best to pretend and imagine the more interesting version of something I’ve seen. And then, of course, write about it.

Writing makes it easy to question if the things I need to say about the world need to be said through youth, lest they become obsolete. Maybe our definition of worthiness changes each year, and that’s why each year I keep thinking I haven’t done anything to fill its shoes. Until the important things I need to say, the ones that truly matter, decide to come out, I’ll keep writing with the unstoppable motion of wild horses.