Why I Write Vol. 1: So That If Not Justice or Peace, I Can at Least Find Sleep At Night
In this series, "Why I Write," members of the Grub community share what compels them to put words onto paper day after day.
I write because blood flows through my body and propels my functions. It trickles into the veins that run from my heart down to my fingertips. When I drive and my hand grips the wheel it flows backwards away from my knuckles. When I am pulled over by the police it goes up to my face and turns the golden brown skin a scarlet hue. When I reach into my pocket blood escapes from the four points where the bullets penetrate. When I close my eyes the blood flows out of me, creating pools on my stomach, then the seat, then the floor of the car.
I open my eyes. I clutch frantically at my chest where the dream-bullets entered me. When the tears come they flow from eye, to cheek, eventually pooling on my pillow. The tears form raindrops and pockmark the pages of my notebook, blurring the ink that flows from my pen. Some of the words have traveled from heart, to pen, to paper. Others stay lodged somewhere in between. I close my eyes to rest and the lost words dance zigzags, spin in my eye sockets so they are hard to make out. I embrace the revolutions as I fall asleep.
I wake up and I write because I am scared. I am scared of losing the words. I am scared of the world around me closing in and strangling me, of leaving that same world too young. I am scared for myself, my family, my friends, my people. And so I write. So that our story is told for generations to come, because a griot storyteller knows that death cannot kill a movement. So that if not justice or peace, I can at least find sleep at night. I write to show the world that my life matters, that black lives matter. I write to remind myself and the world of the bloodflows of my body.
Editor's Note: Next month, we're launching a series called "Why I Write," featuring short personal essays from writers in the Grub community about what compells them to write, why writing is important, and how it relates to other aspects of their lives. But when we received this essay from writer and former Grub intern Lyndon Nicholas, we didn't think it could wait. Look out for more from this series in August.
Call for Submissions: Members of the Grub community have asked for a space to address the most recent spate of fatal police shootings. To create that space, the next "Writers React" series of personal essays will focus on racial injustice — from the personal to the institutional, from subtle insults to physical brutality, both experienced and witnessed. We believe that fostering empathy and understanding through storytelling contributes to social change, and welcome submissions from any and all writers who feel they have something to share. 300 words, deadline July 15th, midnight. Submit here.
Lyndon Nicholas is a recent Northeastern University graduate and writer. A former GrubStreet intern, Lyndon has been doing work in the education and digital publishing fields and is pursuing his teacher certification. In his free time, Lyndon enjoys reading, writing, music, social justice, food, and film.See other articles by Lyndon Nicholas