Writing was never really a part of the plan. There was a time I reckoned that by now, I’d be well on the way to cutting open dead bodies as a forensic pathologist. Much before that, I’d told the future that by now, I’d still be reaping the benefits of former child stardom. There was also a time I’d planned to be and do nothing at all.
I kept a diary as a child, but who didn’t. An entry would be a grey list of my day to day activities. There were more drawings of my family members, people I’d seen on TV, and my clothes than any words. Everything was in colour, and intended to be more gratifying to look at then to read. Some fragmented diary keeping followed, though by 17 I’d dropped the scented gel pens and the minute by minute recounts of my day in favour of whatever font is in the notes app, and some much harsher observations.
I left my teens emptied of dreams and fell down a long hole into a degree in Journalism. Writing had always been a sacred, silent act. It was that thing that I did when there was nothing else that could be done. I only knew how to write confessionals and generally, things that no one could or would read. When every other idea I had about what to do with my life melted away, I no longer felt I had the luxury of pretending I didn’t write or want to. I didn’t have the options or resources to deny it anymore.
Besides, writing about things and people other than myself would force me to grow up and see the world for what it is. I could learn to be good enough at it to get paid for my efforts. Journalism wouldn’t indulge me, it would make no room for angst.
I emerged from the other side with clarity. Everything felt wired to the same machine in that way things do when you have a brainwave.
To write is almost always to tell a story. Everything I wrote for the degree was a story about something or someone that happened. Those stories were all mirrors to someone, as all stories are. During my final year I wondered whether I’d have so vigorously documented my own story with some (much) bitterness if I’d been able to frequently see myself glaring back from within the stories I absorbed.
I wondered about that a lot during a time when my time straddling the system was drawing to a close. I was thinking about that while everyone else was drawing up five year plans. I wondered the depths of what it really does to a person to see themselves in something entirely manufactured by someone else. The wondering was an inquisition I knew I had answers for, and it became the blueprint for Crushball: home of the humble story.
Writing for me has always been self-centered. People tend to use it to unload and restore themselves and I was obviously no different. But it will now also serve me in that way that buying someone a gift just to see the look on their face serves the gift giver. There’s space for both, and you’ll find the two are often one in the same. I’m hoping that you, reader, get as much out of the stories on Crushball as I do in writing them. Stories for you, stories for me. Stories for and about those of us who aren’t used to such a gift. Accept them with that instinctive humility, then let them grow you out of that and let pride take over. Look in the mirrors, or take a look at the lives around yours, and really see them.
Welcome to Crushball, home of the humble story.