This is for a writing prompt that went something along the lines of "Write about a forbidden activity."
My first unbidden thought was what if writing or any form of story telling was forbidden. You couldn’t write stories, tell stories, or be a wordsmith. You could write and read but not stories, just letters and boring stuff for lack of a nice eloquent word. Imagine whatever punishment you want for this, the worst you can think of and then read what I wrote. I know it’s a little crappy but it was fun.
Story telling and writing. There’s more to it than any one of us can imagine sometimes. Creation of people, places, and idea. Words have the power of change, the power to evoke emotion, and the power to transport us into different walks of life- to let us experience everything. It need not only be expressed through the stroke of a pen but also by word of mouth, artwork, body language, anything. Even the river has carved it’s story through the mountains.
To those of us who claim to be writers, wordsmiths, scribes, and creators it is the greatest drug of all. It can be pain and pleasure, both addictive and not. It can be everything and to those of us have fallen in love with the craft it ‘is’.
The question, though, is what would you do if it was forbidden? Would you put your pen down and never write again? Clamp your hands over your mouth to make sure you didn’t utter a traitorous word? Would you halt at all?
More importantly if you did halt would you perish? I would. I could not live without my writing, maybe physically, but not internally. To tell stories is my way of ‘being’, it is a part of my spirituality, the little things that make up my daily life, the big things the hold my memories in my mind and make me who I am. It is me.
Say, for a moment, that you are like me. You do not halt. You cannot halt. To do so would be to condemn yourself to a fate worse than death. What do you do then?
Do you write in secret, scribing word after beautiful word on a piece of parchment of stained napkin that will never see the light of day? Code it so that no one but you will know what it truly is? Burn it right after creation? Or would you whisper your forbidden stories by moon light to those brave enough to venture out and hear you?
I would. I would sing my stories to the stars of the forever silent guardians of the forest if they were the only audience I could find. I would lay my drafts in the sun so he may read them at his leisure and I would read them to the ducks in the pond and Faeries at the corner of my vision.
I would never write for me alone. I cannot write just for me. It would be like keeping the world’s most beautiful flower locked in a safe and sacred room to protect it from the scrutiny of the world. How could it truly be the most beautiful flower if there was no one to gaze upon it and deem it so? How could it have any beauty in the slightest? Would it not just wilt anyway without the sun to smile upon it?
Say, for one more moment, that you are still like me. You do not halt and you do not keep it secret. You continue to practice and devote yourself to the forbidden craft but what would happen if you were caught?
Would you deny being a wordsmith? A bard? A teller of tales both true and false for moral and amusement? Would you claim to do nothing more with your words and thoughts than tuck them safely in your soul till they rot like the food you store in your refrigerator? The food you forget to take out, use, and enjoy? After all a writer must be good at pretending on some level, right? Then again if you deny to be a writer of some sort or another would you not lose your ability to pretend eventually?
Would you, no, ‘could’ you deny that passion, imagination, and the desire to do something with it all flow through your veins? Could you truthfully claim that if you really did stop telling stories that everything that made you who you are/were wouldn’t shrivel up and leave you with nothing but ashes for blood? I could not.
I am a writer. I cannot deny this one fact. I would never deny it. That would be like saying "Oh, no. I don’t need air to thrive" when in reality it’s quite obvious that I do. Even if I were to breath in secret, as I would have to for one really must breath, just the denial would kill or stagnate something. The whole process seems rather unhealthy.
I would freely admit what I am and what I do. I cannot lie in this. I cannot deny it. I cannot force myself not to breath. I cannot keep what is inside me hidden in a small dark place where the sun shall never kiss it but most importantly-
I ‘would’ not.
Even if I could, I would not do any of the above. It is not a matter of can and can’t anymore. My choice is made. I will write. I will tell. I will share. I admit I am a wordsmith. This is me and I cannot be stopped. The power of a writer is endless, unfathomable, and infinite.
We can more mountains and shape society with the smallest of words in ways not even we can imagine without a struggle, all by placing those little words together in one form or another. In our own way we not only craft the world’s of our minds but this world. We set the precedent for morals, values, and what one sees as possible or impossible. We set the pace for what is forbidden and what is not no matter how small a part we play. Stories have power.
So, I ask you my fellow writers; take this challenge and ask yourselves these questions. Think hard and answer in the utmost truth even if it’s only to yourself. Would you fall into line and allow your soul to be forbidden or would you stand with pen in hand and prove that it is truly mightier than the sword of oppression?
Honestly, I’d love to see what others do with this word prompt. It doesn’t have to be about writing like my own was. Just write about something forbidden even if it’s real or not. Write about everything that comes to mind even if it has nothing to do with the prompt. Stretch your wings, let your soul breath, kick out the editor, and fly.