Planning Project 1

I’ve mentioned a few times that I was never a writer, but really—I was NEVER a writer. It wasn’t until I could no longer find comfort in anything that I had the audacity to search for a new cathartic release. It was the release of honesty that made a difference, absolutely 100% no bullshit. My adjustment to college was interesting to say the least; at a time when everything in my environment was new the last thing I needed was a new mental illness but that was exactly what I got. Starting to write and come to terms with my clinical depression was the first step in a very long road to recovery. Once I was able to accept my biggest weakness on paper it was easier to deal with it and come to like myself again. When I write, it is to make sense of my past pains and my past struggles in the hopes that I might make it easier for someone else to come after me.

One of my favorite pieces of writing is a piece from an unexpected author, if you can even call him that.

Dear Basketball,

From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
Game-winning shots
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all —
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.

As a six-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one.

And so I ran.
I ran up and down every court
After every loose ball for you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.

I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you’ve made me feel.

You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have. 

And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1

Love you always,

This poem published on The Player’s Tribune was an eye opening read, one that still brings a tear to my eye each and every time I read it. Kobe was never one to back down from a challenge, a player who could never surrender himself to his weaknesses. In fact, the release of this poem was the very first time he publicly accepted the fact he was no longer in the condition to continue the game of basketball. Up until this point, it didn’t matter what the experts said—he wouldn’t back down from a challenge and admit his short comings had gotten the best of him. The emotion and honesty he evokes in this piece is everything that I hope to convey as a writer, particularly when addressing my own personal hidden weakness, my depression. We all have the scars and the wrinkles of age that we wish others won’t see, but sooner or later the truth will always catch up with us.

How Writing Leads to Thinking: A Reflection

Hunt’s first rule for writing is truly my number one rule for life; don’t look at notes. Looking at notes regardless of the situation gets you nowhere, the learning potential has completely stalemated. Reading over your own words for the 400th time is not going to all of a sudden inspire the utmost of creativity. It is with physical progress that one can continue to grow. Hunt’s first rule piggy-backs perfectly off of “Shitty First Drafts” and the idea that even the shittiest of bullshit writing is a step in the right direction. Words on paper. Ready for revision.

Don’t look at notes Hunt says. This idea is similar to “don’t dwell on the past.” When I’m sitting in bed, hitting myself in the face for the bullshit I faced throughout the day, I can’t help myself from peeking in my mind at the notes. These notes are my notes, the ones I made and stashed away to remind myself of all that had occurred. But thinking about the past and all that you wish to change doesn’t get you anywhere. It isn’t until you take the first physical step to turn things around that one can forget about his or her regrets. Thinking about it doesn’t get you anywhere.

But writing. Writing can get you thinking. And that kind of deeper thinking can get you moving in a direction, anything but still really which is what matters. Only writing can produce a change, a change directed towards a discovery for new thinking.

I’ve considered writing a book. Well I’ve thought about it. I reread my notes on thinking about it. Which, just as Hunt predicted, has gotten me absolutely nowhere. It will not be until I can follow the radish rule that progress will be made. My patience will have to be tested, but the end goal is possible. Don’t look at notes.

Reading Hunt’s piece reminded me about why I wanted to apply to the Writing Minor in the first place. I discovered writing when I least expected it, when I couldn’t find even the simplest of truths in myself on a surface level. It took practically rambling on paper and weaving through incomprehensible sentences to discover what was truly plaguing my self esteem. I was lost and the mechanisms of which I had once had to find myself no longer were successful. Finding writing was a blessing, a safe place to write until I learned. I learned about who I wanted to be. By not second guessing myself and constantly putting words on paper I hope that I will revise my way to clarity. Don’t look at your notes, Kelly.