Thursday, October 9, 2014

Purpose: A Constifesto

It wasn’t too long ago that I read a great post on A Splash of Ink, wherein Sunny explained one of her first English assignments: a manifesto, declaring why she writes.

Me being me, I immediately thought to the Communist Manifesto produced by Karl Marx with his buddy Engels (AP Euro was influential, okay? Also, it turns out he’s not one of the Marx Brothers, if you’d believe it). So, I snuck over to the dictionary—I mean, what’s “manifesto” supposed to mean, anyway?


Manifesto: “a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives, as one issued by a government, sovereign, or organization.” (via Dictionary.com)


Okay then. Opinions and objectives, I suppose I can live with that. I’m reminded of my freshman Government class—over the semester we were required to write a constitution of our own, symbolizing a breakaway relevant in our own lives. Mine was about boredom. (I got bored once this summer. It was horrible.)

Obviously I had to pull up the dictionary again. I love the first definition.


Constitution: “the way in which a thing is composed or made up; makeup; composition.” (via Dictionary.com)


Granted, the dictionary would have me look at definition eight…


Constitution:the system of fundamental principles according to which a nation, state, corporation, or the like, is governed.” (via Dictionary.com)

Flickr Credit: Kim Davies

Hm.

See, a manifesto is great—it declares what you want to do and why you want to do it, and obviously that was the point of the assignment. However, I like constitutions. They say, “this is what we are made of.” I find that exceptionally cool.

So I decided to create a writing Constifesto; what my identity and my products are made of, what I think and where I’m going. Here we go.

Purpose

I write so that I am a writer. Don’t be fooled—I want to reach the end of the story as much as the next girl. If someone were to beg his mom to please, please, please buy Heather’s book, please, I would love you so much, I would not be able to keep myself from grinning ear to ear. And who can deny the joy of holding your own book in your hands, for keeps?

But being a writer means having purpose. I become the reason that something is done, and my readers become the reason something is done, and my future becomes the reason something is done. Writing is a product—one that doesn’t sit well in cardboard boxes.

To be a writer, I must write. I will write. The fifteen minutes I write before bed are not wasted. Blog posts are not just a fun exercise but practice for something greater. The words keep coming, and as long as I make sure I release them, I fulfill that purpose. I don’t have to fear my future when the counselors hound us with college ideas. I’m not afraid to hear the question, “What are you going to do?” because I already know.

I will write.

It is a sanctuary. Explore negative thoughts. Challenge reality. Question God. Kick fear in its ugly face until it howls. I fight and I fight, and again and again it corrals me to the small, secret place. It is that place where I think, “This is what it was like on the first day.” And then, a few moments later, “And this is what it will be like on the last one.”

I play with dinosaurs in my bedroom. I build castles at twilight. Writing is not merely the action of writing words on paper but the very act of flying with superheroes, facing prejudice, tasting the bite of leather against my skin and the tears that fall when they rub the salt in.

I write so I know who I am. Imagine that liberty. Self-discovery, self-doubt. Maybe it sounds boring, but it the life of me. The eldest child, who imagined to herself that she was more neglected than she ever was. The “overachiever” who is sick and tired of that word. The fearful girl, terrified that someone as concrete and steady as she could never be creative.

I am a writer. I no longer wish to be something when I grow up—I am already someone. And this someone will write forever. She will grow in her craft, her faith, and her identity as long as she lives.

These simple words of mine give me purpose. Maybe someday, when I’ve had enough practice, I will write so that they will know theirs, too.

~~~

There ya go.

It’s a little different than I expected, and a little drier than I had planned, but I kind of like it. Sometimes it’s good to remember that there’s a reason why I’m writing—even if I don’t understand it all yet. I’m interested to see how these evolve over the years; I doubt my ideas will remain static for very long.

Now, it’s your turn.

Why do you write?

Like Sunny said in her post, writing a manifesto (or constifesto, the case may be) is a truly useful exercise—you may even surprise yourself when you have the chance to think about it! If you write one and decide to share it, let me know! I’d love to read it!

4 comments :

  1. That was an amazing manifesto! I love the last half of it. In particular this paragraph was great:

    It is a sanctuary. Explore negative thoughts. Challenge reality. Question God. Kick fear in its ugly face until it howls. I fight and I fight, and again and again it corrals me to the small, secret place. It is that place where I think, “This is what it was like on the first day.” And then, a few moments later, “And this is what it will be like on the last one.”

    YES YES YES!!! I agree! Me too!

    Thanks for posting in response to me:)

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    1. Thank you! I had no idea what it was going to look like, but it ended up being a great idea—so again, thanks for the suggestion. :)

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  2. That was amazing!! I'm going to do one of these- not sure when, but I will! I'll be sure to let you know :)

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    1. Thanks! Be sure to let me know when you post it, I'm excited to read more of these!

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