Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Farewell, But Not Goodbye


Luis K. Feliz

Writing has been an all-encompassing passion, and being Publications Officer for Phi Theta Kappa has allowed me to do what I love every day, and for that I am truly grateful. Nevertheless, as any writer can tell you, writing is not an easy process. In fact, it is excruciating; churning a morass of incomplete thoughts into a cohesive whole is a painful process. Hence, writing requires discipline, patience, conviction, and love. I can still remember staying up all night ideas swarming in my mind, dozing off atop a mountain of crumpled paper, and coaxing the past with trinkets from bygone days of innocence in order to flesh out its lessons. For example, I distinctly remember taking out old photographs and translating the emotions onto a paper with brushstrokes of words. Or I would listen to an old Spanish ballad and recreate in my mind’s eye a family reunion. Ice cubes submerged in an orange sea of rum. My uncle’s makeshift guitar wailing and coalescing with guffaws summoned from strong, oval potbellies. Often staring at the naked sky of New York City, the winds of nostalgia have whisked me to a zinc roof in my grandmother’s house. The expanse of a Caribbean night dotted with silvery chandeliers has always bemused me. What were those silvery lights that hung over the ceiling of the night sky? I mused as child.


This I did often as I thought about what to write for the blog, or how to approach people to ask them to contribute to the blog. In essence, I wanted to understand my relationship to this utterly idiosyncratic craft. If I understood what compelled me to write, I could convince others to do likewise. So I tried to understand why, often, at night, I was restless, ideas clanking in the basement of my mind and not releasing me into the arms of sleep. I believe that in order for me to ask students to share with me and others their most profound observations I had to be earnest in explaining why I write. Despite many efforts, this is what I have come up with: “something inside of me compels me to write, and I write to satiate that impulse.”

I recall the first time I read over Jocelyn’s essay “Life, After Eighteen,” a deeply moving and sincere account of a strong woman’s struggle with cutting and depression. The verve of her voice, the underlying pain in the telling, was an example of a muffled voice finally free to return from self-imposed exile. Therefore, narrative is freedom because it unfolds the origami-intricacy of our lonely, private battles. Cutting, like other personal struggles, is often endured in silence in the solitude of one’s private life. I say that narrative unfolds because it sheds light on the painful experiences or situations that too often keep us captive in the cell of our private agony. If the blog has had an indelible mark on our Chapter, and LaGuardia, it is in the unquantifiable, bringing people together. In other words, my hope is that the blog has not only facilitated discussion of important topics, but has also allowed people to be part of a virtual community of like-minded students.

In retrospect, I do not know whether I was successful as an editor or adept at editing the wonderful work of my colleagues and contributing interesting insights to the ongoing discussion about the issues that affect our college, community and country. But one thing, I can assure you, my friends, I have had a lot of fun these past months. Thanks for the opportunity to touch so many people with my ideas, and conversely to be touched by so many people. I go forth equipped with many wonderful experiences.

4 comments:

  1. Absolutely beautiful.

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  2. Thank you Luis. You wonderfully captured the endless pool of a writer's mind. Beautiful!

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  3. Beautiful reflection! Luis, im honored! Thank you.

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