I was somewhat low spirited this week.
I found myself in classes filled with very intelligent people. So I constantly felt the need to say something super mind-blowing. My pride wanted to prove myself, to make my mark, as a smart young woman. But in this attempt I only ended up saying something unintelligent, something trite, while others would bring up comments that actually contributed to the discussion. So, while I kept my cool, in my mind I burned with humiliation.
I began to feel a bit…stupid (I sound whiny, but bear with me; I haven’t written this to wallow in self-pity).
I kept wishing that I spoke better, that I could process my thoughts better before speaking. You would think that a writer would be more articulate; but for me, that isn’t the case. When writing, I’m alone in my own thoughts, not conscious of the audience. My mind relaxes and blooms with words. But when I’m with people, I tense up, my mind goes blank, and I blurt out nonsense. I told my mother this on the phone and she said she’d email me her response. The next morning I received an email titled, 14th letter (yah, she has started to track the number of emails she sends me. I think it’s adorable). I translated it from Korean so it’s a bit awkward:
I am looking at your painting which hangs by the dining table.
As I observe this painting—of a lady who sits by the lacy curtain, dressed in a purple gown—I wondered how you managed to paint such a portrait. Was it a creation of the hand, or the mind?
Even your paintings are inspiring, so I got curious as to how much more moving your novel must be, filled with words that have poured out from your heart and soul.
June, there is no need to trouble yourself for not being as articulate as you desire, because you speak through your writing, you move the heart through your writing.
Thank you for creating so many lovely paintings for me.
My mom’s words encouraged me so much. I guess sometimes silence is enough. She helped me realize that I don’t always need to say something intelligent, inspiring, thought-provoking, etc., to prove myself. Because I’ve proved all that I need to prove. My book stands as my personal witness: I do have a voice, I do have strong beliefs and opinions. Isabelle Burwell, in my book The Runaway Courtesan, captures the essence of why I love to write so much:
Because writing is my only means of expressing my mind and heart. You see, I’m never able to say what I wish and am never able to say what I should when I ought. But when I write, everything stored up in me is let out and read by others. That is why I write. So people might read my works and see the woman who I always struggle but fail to be in life.” As if satisfied with her explanation, she smiled triumphantly and played with her necklace. “Yes, that’s it. As diverse as the character of mankind might be, diverse is also the means of communication.
While I have my own explanation, still, I do wonder. Writing and speaking: both mediums deal with words… If an author has a strong command of the language, naturally, one would expect them to speak well. But it’s a fact that not all writers are eloquent. Why do you think this is the case?
Speaking of….speaking, here’s a trailer of the movie I want to see BADLY: