The Novel that will never be Written
I was sitting in an empty classroom a few months back with my creative writing teacher, trying to use the last few minutes of the lunch mod to gain some ever needed criticism on my latest piece when I first heard these words.
“The novel that will never be written”.
He was talking about the mundane. The dramatics that is January of senior year. All the little things that we get so wrapped up in, that consume us so, but that mean absolutely nothing. Why would anyone want to read that, anyway?
“The novel that will never be written”. I loved the way those words sounded, and I swore I would use them some day. He would say things, prolific things, pointless things, profound things, petty things, poetic things, every time I met with him. And every time, like clockwork, I would promise myself that I would use them. Take them, morph them, finagle them, manipulate them, into something my own. Something beautiful, born of his influence, grown from my desire to create the impossible, and fertilized by his praise, critique, and presence.
But this was different.
It wasn’t the way he said those words, though that certainly was part of it. It was the intrinsic meaning of the words, something that touched me from one writer to another, but that resonated deeper than a simple love of language.
It took five months to figure out what it was about that phrase that touched me so. Five months later, I have finally sat down to write, at least in part, the novel that will never be written, but that needs to be. That should be. That will be. By me.
And he was right. It is about teenage girls.
At 4:30 this morning, two days after high school graduation, I woke up to an alarm.
Somewhere, she did too.
At 6:57, I boarded a train in route to New York City.
Somewhere, she did too.
Maybe, there is something wrong with me. Or maybe, there is something wrong with everyone else. But as I boarded this train with my mother and aunt and cousin, I couldn’t help but wonder, how many of them have been forced to board, also on their way to the City, but not to celebrate graduation? How many girls have been trafficked on this very train? How many are on here with me, even now?
Statistically, they are here now. And that knowledge makes this ride something akin to torture.
Because in this moment, I am absolutely powerless. In this moment, that novel will remain unwritten. I can’t do anything to save the 200,000 slaves in the United States today. I can’t stop the importation and capture of 15,000 new slaves in the Unites States annually. I can’t do anything about it, but write.
At least for now.