My roommate recently had to do a project in class where she had to describe her “essence” in four minutes without talking. I had no idea what that meant. She said to think about it—what is, by definition, you?
Writing is, by definition, me. Writing is both my job and my pastime. I write when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m angry. Writing is who I am.
As I said that, I began thinking to myself…when is the last time I’ve done any creative fiction writing? I’ve written a lot of articles for work, and plenty of blog posts, tweets, poetry, songs…but no creative, fiction, prose. That’s what I’m majoring in, that’s the love of my life, that’s what my essence is made up of…and I haven’t been doing it.
Then I thought, maybe that’s why I’ve been feeling like the air around me is made of mud, like my feet are made of iron and my throat is an inch wide. I’ve lost my essence. I’ve lost myself, as cheesy as that sounds.
So I started writing. I wrote a thousand words in an hour. I kept going until I had to sleep, and the next day I started up again as soon as I had time. God, I missed it. I started to feel like myself again. I started to see and think clearly for the first time in, well, months.
I’m so glad I rediscovered myself.
So writing is my essence…but back to the assignment. How would I show my essence to a class? In four minutes without saying a word? I can’t write anything good in four minutes, or do a reading of my work. I don’t have to do the project, but it’s floating around my head. What’s the best way to show people who I am in this way?
It’s a hard assignment. I guess my secondary essence is singing. Maybe I would write a song about writing fiction?
What came to mind was a The Decemberists’ song Engine Driver. I am a writer, writer of fictions… I could sing that song, maybe, play it on ukulele. Maybe I would write that lyric on my arm or something, to emphasize it. That would last about four minutes.
What would you do? What is your essence, and how would you show it off in four minutes, without speaking?
I am the heart that you call home….