Why do I write?
Several years after his military service my dad would drink heavily and record very neatly in a hardback black notebook all the things what he wanted to say to my sister and I… things that he found too difficult to express with simple chat. Life was pushing him to the limit and he’d say ‘if this world gets the better of me, read this’.
He always used a fountain pen with black ink. I don’t recall anyone else ever writing so surgically or with so much intent. The first time I witnessed my dad record his thoughts I was thirteen years old. He’s over twenty years sober now and we communicate very easily but I still remember the war that once lived in his eyes.
During high school I regrettably failed to see the value in education. The world didn’t make much sense to me. It still doesn’t. When I turned sixteen years old, I’d have my own war to fight. This was what I can only describe as a war of the mind and soul. Adolescent behaviour became a part of me. Like many children my parents got divorced while I’d do my best to escape consciousness with alcohol and cannabis or by any means necessary. Emotional hurt and confusion was becoming routine. Physically I wasn’t having much luck either. I got stabbed in the eye not long after I left high school. It was just one of those random malicious attacks.
The stabbing was something that contributed to a very worrying and dark internalised pattern of thinking. I never like to broadcast a victim mentality. However, there is no doubt in my mind that I was vulnerable at this point in life. Two brothers recognised my vulnerability and one the brothers, a few years older than myself thought it would be a good idea to talk me into taking a large dose of LSD suggesting that it would make feel better. That was the day I truly lost my mind.
Twenty minutes after the LSD kicked in, I knew I’d never be right again. I couldn’t look at television screens for six months because the hallucinations were so extreme. Eventually I’d watch an old movie, The Magnificent Seven. That was the first movie I was able to experience after taking the LSD but hallucinations still remained. The corners of rooms kept shrinking and ceilings would regularly fall closer to my eyes.
On one occasion I woke up to a black silhouette with its hands around my throat strangling me. I’m pretty sure it was the devil. Thinking became so rapid compared to earlier years in life and I couldn’t always get my words out on time. This is something that has impacted relationships and many other aspects of life.
A year after taking the LSD I met a girl who was travelling. She was from Wollongong in New South Wales. She broke her arm during trials for the Olympic gymnastics team and so she’d write and travel a lot. She’d send books and I always looked forward to her letters. I’d write back to her. In one letter she told me to write and keep writing until all the hurt is out of my system. We don’t speak anymore but her advice helped.
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