By Nicola Rakuljic
Graduating Editor in Chief 2019/20
Knowing that this will be the last article I write for the Mary Word is hard to comprehend. I’ve been involved in the Mary Word since Year 7, and it feels so weird knowing that there is no student at the school who remembers my creative story that was, looking back on it, poorly planned and badly written.
But that’s the thing about doing something that you enjoy; you get better at it. You can start a hobby and be the worst writer, the worst painter, the worst whatever, but that’s you at the start. Not you in the future.
The hardest thing about starting a hobby is not in fact starting it at all. It’s keeping it.
And reminding yourself that you’ll get better.
In looking back at my writing, I can recognise that, frankly, I didn’t know how conversations worked. And I especially didn’t know how characters should act depending on their age. But that’s because I was in Year 7, I was 12. Did you know how 16 year olds acted at school when you were 12? You had a vague idea, probably based on older siblings or young adult books or even the young adult movies that cast literal adults as teenagers, but you never truly know until you’re in that time frame.
I will say, I somehow managed to write 15,000 words on this story in one year, and that is a big achievement seeing as it was the first time I tried to write something longer than a few chapters and with an actual storyline.
I have countless stories that I’ve started, and countless ones that I’ve abandoned. But their skeleton documents sit gathering dust in my computer, waiting for the day that I’ll take a look at them for something to salvage. Because, yes, they may be horribly written, but they also encapsulate who I was at that time, what I was thinking about, how I saw the world around me. And I’m a nostalgic person. I like looking back on the past.
(Years later, after all the embarrassment and regret about something I said or did has faded into acceptance that it has brought me to where I am today)
In Year 9, I planned out a whole 51 chapter story with 6 different main characters, and started to write that. And only that. It was one of the few stories that I never shared with my friends, and I think I’ll keep it that way; emotions and memories are neatly tied up with the words on those pages, and it’s too soul-baring for me to share.
I think it was the first time when writing that I started to think of the bigger picture, the message I was trying to impart. Generally, the message was that there are rules about how we should act in society, but because those rules are hindering and don’t allow for people to actually be themselves, they are bad rules. And that you can do anything as long as you put your mind to it, because human beings are not confined by arbitrary rules made by a society that we made up. If that makes any sense at all.
Anyway, I wrote this for about 2 years, and I wrote about 16 chapters. Which, surprise surprise (it’s me, I write too much when it comes to stories, and go off on tangents and add things that are irrelevant at the time but are pieces of gold when I get back to it later), I wrote 30,000 words. And then I stopped, because I didn’t know where it was going.
That’s the great thing about life, and the worst thing: you don’t know where you’re going. Every day is a new adventure, just waiting for you to choose to go on it. And trust me, it gets boring when you do the same thing everyday, when you tell yourself ‘tomorrow I’ll do this thing’ and then don’t do it because you’re scared.
It’s scary taking that first step. But, to be fair, you have to admit it’s scary doing anything in life. Because most of the time, you have no clue what the fallout will be.
We have no clue if the world is going to end tomorrow. We have no clue if the world will keep going for thousands of years.
We only know what is today, the present.
In a previous article/story/whatever it is that I write for the Mary Word, I wrote about COVID-19 and how we need to work together. I wrote this in May. It’s called ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’, and in re-reading it, I feel immensely sad.
Not because my story didn’t impact anyone, because it’s only been seen by the girls and teachers at school, all 14-ish people who read my stories. And I know, even in writing this right now, that very few people will read this one, which honestly makes writing this easier. Because everyone wants to read the latest trends and stuff about the school, but very few people want to read about someone’s emotions.
No, what makes me sad is the fact that a teenager could see that we need to work together, that we need to stay proud and constantly remind ourselves that we are here, but that the people who need to see it, the people in power, do not.
It reminds me of all the school shootings in America, of the protests led by the students that practically fell on deaf ears.
Because students are ‘too young to understand the real world’.
We’re alive, aren’t we?
If we don’t understand the real world now, will we?
I don’t know where this is going, and I don’t think I ever did when I sat down at my computer. But it’s here, for someone to see. It’s here, for me to be proud of, that I wrote it.
Remember that everything you’ve done has made you who you are today, all the good times and the bad times. Remember that if you’ve made something, you can salvage it. Remember that nothing is going to come easy, and yes, that is scary. It’s off-putting. It’s the reason why so many people drop their hobbies, because they’re not good at it fast enough.
But that’s what makes life worth living.
And yeah, I know, I’m still a teenager, I don’t have a lot of experience with life, but I’ve seen enough of the horrible stuff, and I know you have too. We’re the generation that grew up with technology at our fingertips, and the ability to see all the good and bad in the world as it happens.
Better than anyone else, I think we know how messed up the world can be.
And regardless of how you look at the glass; half-empty, or half-full, it’s still a glass. It’s not going to change no matter how hard you look at it. And I don’t think there is anyone actively trying to pour water into it.
So go out, do something, and be proud of yourself.