might (noun). 1. physical strength: She pressed her pen to paper and scrawled with all her might. 2. Superior power or strength; force. The might of her conviction seeps into her writing, even sometimes, without her knowing it. 3. power or ability to do or accomplish; capacity. The might of the written word.
Seventeen year old Javier Martinez stayed at the podium after his writing team had begun to walk away, including me, his writing coach for the last four days. He had resisted my coaching for the first two days — in those long first hours of writing, by hand, I fretted over him the most. His second freewrite described me: “there’s this nice lady who says she wants to help me, but she doesn’t know how to get to me. Every adult in school tells me I could be something, but none of them can help me.” I wasn’t sure I could, either. His boldness in writing this impressed me; he knew I would be reading his work, and I laughed when I read it, patted him on the shoulder and said, “Javier, you don’t need my help, you just need to keep writing and see where your mind takes you.”
I’m not sure if it was that comment, or some other way in which I ignored his long sighs or long pauses of staring at the wall and praised his valiant efforts at letting his mind wander on the page, but he got it.
That last night, he stayed at the podium, adjusted the height of the mic to his mouth, and told the assembled audience of other coaches, parents, teachers, and principles, “I know I’m not supposed to say anything extra, but I have to. Mandie kept at me these last few days, and I didn’t know what she was doing, but when I let myself just write, something good happened, and I want to thank her because she showed me something really important: that the pen is mightier than the sword. I won’t forget, Mandie.”
Never in my life have I been so pleased to hear that over-used cliché. A thrill chill ran through me as I let the enormity of having led a young person to the written word, where it gripped him by the heart and led him to a spot of healing, sink in.
He experienced, even if only briefly, Scribble Might, an affliction of those of us compelled to write, even when we’re resistant, exhausted, sick, sleep deprived, and need to be at work early in the morning, but can’t stop writing.
Scribble Might (noun). 1. Superior power or strength of the will to write; a force that overcomes natural body rhythms and worldly concerns and forces the afflicted to sit at their computers late at night, or early in the morning, the letters having their way with the damned. 2. power or ability to do or accomplish creative writing by will or inspiration; capacity to write well, to write with passion, to write with humor, to write with love.
Welcome to Scribble Might, where I’ll write about love, my far-left politics, relationships, sex, natural beauty, things that anger me, or make me cry, family, joy, heartbreak, things that confuse me, or anything else that grips me enough to come under the spell of Scribble Might. Come along on my journey from late-night scribbling to a career in the literary world. It may take years, but I’ll think it’ll be great fun.