“I have to write to be happy whether I get paid for it or not. But it is a hell of a disease to be born with. I like to do it. Which is even worse. That makes it from a disease into a vice. Then I want to do it better than anybody has ever done it which makes it into an obsession. An obsession is terrible. Hope you haven’t gotten any. That’s the only one I’ve got left.”
– Ernest Hemingway on Writing, page 16
I’ve been reading and writing for as long as I can remember. I was reading the daily newspaper at five-years-old. As a fourth grader, I turned in a twenty-page short story told from the perspective of a Confederate deserter at the Battle of Antietam during the American Civil War. It was the result of an open-ended writing assignment, but ended up being included in my portfolio all the way through my teens, revised a few times of course.
When my life is troubled and turbulent, writing brings me peace. When life is good, recording it brings me joy.
It’s how I express myself and what I’m feeling. Words and characters, strung together in deliberate order, are the means by which I decompress and bring myself to fully understand the world around me.
Professionally, writing has always been a part of what I do. I’ve been a published columnist, opinion writer, reporter and newspaper editor. Today, I am publisher of this newspaper and manage a few others.
Personally, my writing has always been a bit more haphazard. It’s been less intentional, less organized. I have notebooks upon notebooks, as well as scratchpads, sticky notes and worn napkins randomly shoved together in boxes and drawers. It is an uncatalogued and undisciplined mess.
The last twelve months have been the most bizarre year of my life – full of chaos, heartbreak, failure and disappointment. But at the same time, 2018 brought me inexplicable joy, soaring success, love and passion.
Last year was a year that made no sense. Living it myself, I couldn’t believe it. I could not connect the dots and reconcile in my own mind how I exist today the way that I do.
“Your life is a movie,” I was recently told.
That prompt inspired me to try to make sense of all of this in the only way that I know how – by writing about it.
But, I’ve decided that the only way this will make sense is if I purposefully catalog my thoughts and refine the writing.
This year, I've set a personal goal to write more. A lot more. I want to capture my life in a way that tells this story so that an outsider looking in can draw the parallels and understand the celebration, chaos, disappointment, failure, hilarity, heartbreak, joy, love, passion, romance, success, suffering and whimsy all as if they were there living these experiences alongside me.
I don’t know what the finished product of this journal will look like, or if there will ever be one even, but I do believe that it will help me grow and provide an avenue to possibly connect with others who share similar experiences.
What I do know, is that I have to write.
What are some of your goals for 2019? Shoot me an email or a tweet with something you want to accomplish in the new year. I'm interested to see what our community has in store for what I hope is our best year yet.
Until next time.
Brandon Cox is the publisher of the Kentucky New Era in Hopkinsville, Ky. He can be reached by email to email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BrandonJCox.