I can hear the sizzling of my father's cooking from anywhere in the house. It flows at a vibration faster and higher than music. The clicking of the tongs that he uses to strategically place the food on the plates in a bistro tower sounds throughout our apartment halls. It's something that only recently has started to feel familiar.
It's then, the final product, after the chemistry of the spices, the combining of flavors, that I know dinner is ready. My father comes in with an energy that he only gets from cooking, from creating.
When I met my father this past year for the first time, I thought I was going to be disappointed by what I assumed to be a dead beat father who left my mother. Yet, in a crazy, story book way, it turned out to be the opposite. Though we don’t know each other like a father and daughter do after seventeen years, I know that creating is something that runs continuously through our blood. With a pen and paper as my spices and flavors, I’ve gotten the same energy with writing. I find that my mind races with letters and words. My body temperature involuntarily rises when a sentence flow never ends and ideas, plots, and conflict sizzle in my head.
When I read something that shakes me to my core with profoundness, it gives me an energy I have never felt before, not even as a child. After reading, it takes every bit of energy to not get up and grab a pen and a notebook. All I feel has to be written down. All I can do is write.
It wasn't until I moved away from my mother six years ago that I even thought about writing. I never knew I could find anything to write about and yet, I couldn't sit anywhere long enough to ponder the idea of anything. It was move after move with my mother. I slept on the edges of beds ready to get up and pack in the middle of the night, in case of an angry tenant or landlord. I listened through the running water while my mother shot up in the bathroom and I naively accompanied while she made deals in the streets of Dorchester and Jamaica Plains.
I changed schools constantly and because of that, I know that there is knowledge I lack. All the moving, all the changes, I know that I missed some fairy tales, songs to remember the days of a month, or moments in history. It's a flaw I don't let myself resent because it enables me to always learn something new and through these moves and changes, I’ve been able to see and write about all different aspects of people.
The idea of all that I can learn pushes me to do something that will take consistency and hard work. Until I met my father, I can't remember ever feeling settled enough to try to achieve anything but a better transition to the next place. Now that I have the opportunity to take a step away, I can digest and I can finally start writing and I see Emerson as that opportunity for me.
While my father cooks, I write and I know that we’re both creating and we’re both doing exactly what we love to do. Writing has taught me so much about myself that I can’t see being who I am today without it. Without all my naïve journals and pieces that I poured myself in, I wouldn’t be able to laugh at old memories and myself or feel proud of a piece that felt heart wrenching to even put on paper.
Regardless if a piece keeps me up for all hours or is too much to bear, I know that it will still be written down. So I take a seat at the dinner table and let the day’s course clink with the silverware, still and always ready to write about it all.