Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why I write.


Here's another piece I wrote towards the end of my time as an 
undergrad. I minored in creative writing and this particular
 period, i was deeply involved in a writing fiction workshop that 
geared the pieces created towards publication. 
I will eventually start to post newer works.


During a science conference I attended eons ago (2009), a woman asked how many people considered themselves to be more left-brained than right. A handful number of them raised their hands. Then she asked how many thought they were more right-brained than left, this time less did. However, the point was made, some people feel that being analytical is the logical way to go, while others think more or less creatively. The woman went on to say it is foolish to think one way or the other; it is rather wise to utilize both sides of the coin. This woman is Mae Jemison, a scientist, an astronaut and a dancer. The things she said that night resounded in my mind far more than any other science-oriented seminar speeches the rest of that conference.

The things she said that night made me remember my people, how a person could take apart, say a television, and with his bare hands and a bunch of screwdrivers repair it. And then in the evening, this same person can create a folk-tale for the kids in the community and better yet, provide the songs and dances that go with the folk-tale. By night, the kids are sated and request another for the next night before going to their beds of foam and straw and mats and whatever else creative minds create as substitute for rich, extra soft, feathered beds.

The things she said reminded me of another woman, a very old woman who spent her life maintaining her home. Her unschooled brain, the financial calculator of her home, rationed food, her time, money and energy. Yet had enough time to be creative enough as to sew dresses, pink and white dresses in time for festive days, creative enough to sing, soft lowly songs that can masterly woo you to sleep. Creative enough to tell stories; stories to my brother and myself every time she came to visit. Her stories went beyond anything I ever imagine. Real stories with normal people, fantasies with witches and brewing pots, war stories and love stories, myths.

These stories do not come from books. These stories come from her mind; her experiences and even more importantly, they come from both sides of her brain. Her stories are creative enough to hold anyone spellbound till the end and analytical enough to extract logical information, political and metaphysical information.

Why should anyone care to utilize both sides of the coin? Maybe being just creative and intuitive is best for you. A creative mind thinks creatively, after all. Why should you think logic? Why reason? Of what use are numbers or physics? Well, that may be the case for you, but for others, art, like the abstract art, is really just a combination of creativity and logic, the merging of paints and geometry, coupling of nonsense and precision. I feel I would need to provide more examples of how being both intuitive and logical provides, using statistical terms here, the best fit?  However, it should suffice to say, simply, that there are some that think Math, Art, Geometry, and Abstract Art are related and of course try to analyze that and then there are those like me, who just love and want to be a part of both sides of the coin.

Which brings me to why I as a science student wanting to go to graduate school to acquire knowledge of biomedical research also wants to write stories. Maybe because someday while staring into a microscope or using a cytometer, I might stumble, and I say stumble with intent, upon something that requires both an analytical and creative mind to figure out. Maybe because at that point I am so close to the answer, I’ve read all the textbooks and articles in Nature and all I need do is sit and think. Not about the things I have read, but think innately about what ought to happen to make my research work and figure out that which needs and beg to be. Maybe that might help me realize that writing stories is not a waste of time, like my science folks like to tell me. Maybe because I, unlike my folks, already realize that to come up with a story, it requires precision. A precision so good and mandatory, that in its absence a story is not really a story at all. A precision that those who do not possess it are not fit to be called a storyteller. A precision that if you do have, but then it runs out, you feel incline to put a bullet through your heart.

In this regard, I’d like to call this my apology, a defense as to why I’ve gone so far into both extremes, as some would call it. To choose to hold on so tightly to both desires and never have to choose between wanting to write a story, a poem, an essay or doing basic scientific research.