It started with a seed, as so many things do, and a fateful conversation in the afternoon haze. Leaning against the wall of my back porch, I turned to a fresh page in my notebook and began to transcribe as my friend Ana read out a horoscope-like prediction from the Mayan Calendar. It was my birthday the next day, Ana’s last day in Goa, and she was gifting me with a reading for the year ahead, waving her dark bronze arms in time with her Argentinian lilt, emphasising her words as the sun made its way towards the sea behind her.
It was to be a year of dragons; of rebirth, new beginnings, communication, balance, and one tiny almond-shaped world of possibility. A seed. I was to plant a seed of intention… to nurture it, and allow it to grow.
“You have to actually do something,” Ana mused. “Really plant your seed. Learn how to flow in adversity; in the challenges that you will come across. Resolve the challenges and keep on moving. Don’t let yourself down.”
As her words flowed out from the nib of my pen, something was planted deep inside me, and I knew the words were true.
I thought back to breakfast that very morning, a simple serving of banana pancakes and good advice. I sat across the table from my friend Jenny, her caring but firm words filling me up. “Just write,” she urged. “Write through your anger and frustration and fear and self-doubt. Don’t allow this to get in your way.”
The recent theft of my laptop had left me feeling despondent, but even before that, for months, I had been the spanner in my own works, self-sabotaging the part of my life that both thrills and terrifies me the most.
My desire to write.
This word, this thing, this yearning I tried so hard to ignore. That is the seed I had been carrying around, gently turning it over in my pocket, thumbing its soft brown kernel, too afraid to plant it.
After breakfast I found myself at Jenny’s house, nestled comfortably in the corner of her daybed amidst cushions and cats. We planned to spend time free-writing together, an unedited stream of consciousness not meant for public consumption.
Reading back over my barely legible scrawl later that day, it was hard to ignore the similarities with Ana’s Mayan prediction; of seeds and change and growth. I had written myself a letter, and though this was never intended to be read by anyone but me, I wanted to share part of it here with you, verbatim.
My written words will be the fertile soil I till diligently until those first buds break through. Every day I am going to walk out to my field. I’ll pull a few weeds, throw a few snails over the fence and just keep showing up. I will let the pen become synonymous with who I am, the exercise I start my day with.
The words are here. They exist. They are my words. What words they are is less important than the fact that they keep appearing as my pen drifts quickly from left to right across the page. Letter by letter, word by word, the pen is in my hands, and so is the future of my dreams.
That evening I joined my friends Kim and Candace for sunset daiquiris in our usual haunt, discussing the events of the day between sugary slurps. Something had shifted inside me, some chunk of bullshit and uncertainty had fallen away, and I couldn’t shake the feeling of being more… aware.
“Today has felt like a day I should listen to.” I said.
When I got home I tore a small piece of paper from my notebook and wrote four simple words across it. I took it outside, folded it tightly and buried it in my backyard, mentally whispering a little mantra as I did so:
I have a field to tend, words to nourish, a writing career to grow.
I envisioned my seed, my intention, and wedged it deep between the soft burgundy of my left and right ventricle, letting the words resound with every beat of my heart, holding me accountable.
I am a writer.
I woke the next morning, my 33rd birthday, to the sound of unexpected rainfall pounding on the terracotta tiles, unseasonably out of the blue. Though it dashed my plans of a day at the beach, I couldn’t help but feel joyful.
I stretched my arms above my head and let out a deep breath, expelling my self-doubt and allowing it to wash away with the rain, like the dust that clung to the sun-baked palms around our house. As the fan shifted the balmy air overhead I pictured my seed – my words – my dreams of being a writer, planted deep in the soil of India, and my heart, and smiled as the birthday rains watered it.