My name is Ann Marie Elliott.
Playwright. Poet. Consumed.
I often write for no reason at all other than for the sake of writing. There is something about the pure physicality of placing pen to paper that invests me down to the curve of the f. Because it’s these curves, these words that converge into an entire world that exists as an extension of who I am, of what I am: I am a writer, to very framing of my being, and nothing could sever me from the compulsion to express that being.
I’m currently involved in the production of one of my plays, and was recently presented with choosing the fabric that a kimono would be made out of. I think I described it as a sense of magic: here, everything I write is coming into existence. It’s thrilling to feel the pulse of a script move from the space of images in my mind, to the page, to literally springing into life. The life-blood that pulses through my hands as I form every curve swells into being. This is my life, and I must not escape it.
I use the phrase “must not” here because I feel there is a certain barrier that, as writers, we are constantly pulling against. There is a “something” that can easily be missing from our craft. Some aspect of life that I feel has been lost from our generation of writers creates a cavern of ache in my chest as I compose word by word the ideas I want my readers to understand: the heartbeat. The heartbeat of poetry that so often reveals itself through the way a piece carries into the pit of our stomachs a certain longing for more; vulnerability. No matter where we go, we must be willing to carry this vulnerability with us, endeavor to explore its limits, and seek to inspire it in others. This vulnerability carries through all of my writing, for poetry and the theatre. And it is this vulnerability that I will endear as I travel, seeking out the world and putting it on the page so that I might be able to share my own understanding of the world with both readers and audiences.
I must admit, I often cringe at the question of plans after graduation. I find myself caught between two possibilities: working on attaining my MFA in Singapore or teaching my craft to high school students at Tam Kang in Taiwan. Neither are certain, and both will most certainly displace me from all I know here in our corner of Indiana. But I am often asked if I am worried about moving away, about getting lost in a strange newness, and the idea of letting fear displace the act of seeking out these new experiences still seems alien to me. To a certain respect, I believe that this sort of fear is useful to the writer. Fear challenges us, it invades our comfort to show us that there are still things left without understanding—those things which should drive us towards our fear: the words that we might be able to paint because of it.
No matter where I go within these next few years, and no matter how uncertain, I will always be writing. As it is such a part of what I am, I cannot. The sense of vulnerability is empowering; the act of seeking it out in order to gain the resonance that a certain phrase, a certain piece carries within our bodies is too consuming. The world is too big to ever stop opening that to those who may not have had the opportunity to feel that yet, and with their own lives, stresses, and loves—the craft of writing is fueled through their passion as much as my own.