Two Types by Catelyn Errington

When I was in elementary school, the subject of English was split into two different classes-- reading and writing. As I grew older, assimilation became inevitable. I was no longer enrolled in reading and writing, but English. This transition may seem to be no big deal, but it made one thing clear to me. the two types of people in this world are the readers and the writers. We all get to choose cats or dogs, coffee or tea, and fight or flight. Some things are not a choice because it’s inside you. Does your heart beat with sympathy or empathy? Do you watch the words fly by or do you reach out to catch them?

I used to be a reader. I used to go to the library and leave with ten books, stacked precariously in my slender arms. I read hundreds of pages each week. I let the words sit in my mouth and dissolve on my tongue. I had no desire to emulate the words I held so tenderly, but why was that? I hated writing more than anything.

When I grew into middle school, my parents grew apart. It was my first true tragedy. Then came the counseling, my father’s reclusion, the death of my first dog, and the remarriage of both of my parents. I didn’t like to admit that they affected me. After these events came the first time I realized that maybe, I could be a writer. But what struck me was that my writing came from pain. It came from a dark place, and I didn’t sugarcoat my feelings. I did not avert my eyes. The summer after that, I wrote my first short story-- inspired by the counseling I attended in the wake of my parents’ divorce. It hurt me deeply to write, and I nearly cried hearing it read aloud. I had never been truly affected by the tragedies I read about in my childhood, so what made this different? It was hearing my own voice, experiencing my own pain once more, and allowing others to feel it too. It was listening to my classmates share what touched them. I had, through my pain, created something that helped both myself and others. I have never felt more like a writer than I did when I explored the depths of my distress.

Now what does this all have to do with the two kinds of people that I believe to exist in this world? Readers comprehend. They understand what is necessary, and they have the privilege to be capricious. They can float from reality to reality without a scratch, a scar. Writers are the most deeply scarred. They access the parts of themselves that the readers can’t bear to face. Readers don’t inherently read, and writers don’t inherently write. The relationship between them exists in the fact that writers produce art from their soul, darkened but pure, and the readers use this art to escape from their own reality. I’ve decided to embrace the experience of being a writer, wholly, for all of its pain and pleasure.

Sarah RolinskiComment