A friend recently made this housewarming gift for me —a flower pot, painted with the anonymous quote, “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”
After several months of glimpsing the flower pot every day, the meaning of those words has suddenly sunk in.
The past half-year has been the craziest, most adventurous, most interesting, most painful, and most joyful time in my life thus far. I would say that, for the first time, I’m truly living: experiencing adventure , taking risks, making mistakes, finding reconciliation, opening up, enduring, growing, thinking, reasoning, and changing. But truly living hasn’t come without a lot of pain. These days, I spend a lot of time trying to focus on “keeping on walking”—keeping going, not giving up, focusing on the important things, and finding healing and reconciliation. However, in the midst of this, a certain phrase has been on my mind a lot: “No matter what I’m going through right now, I can take comfort in the fact that, someday, I can write it into one extraordinary story.”
And that, my friends, is turning the world into words: finding redemption within your experiences by turning them into stories that can touch others’ souls. Think of how often something written by another person has touched you. Well, they were probably a true alchemist. They took their experiences, created gold, and then offered it to you.
I’m finally ready to practice some true alchemy. My writing has been on the decline since the beginning of this year, and while I haven’t given up entirely, I haven’t dedicated real time and effort to getting it back on its feet. However, as summer began, a story began to emerge from several scattered thoughts and ideas. I half-worked on it throughout the summer, writing random bits and pieces, but only when it came to me. I never went to it. I never sought it out. As the summer ended, though, and keeping on walking became a little harder, I felt a pressing need to fully commit to crafting that story. I needed to write in order to find redemption in the things I was struggling with.
Thus was birthed “The Hermit Journals,” an odd little work of art, mixing poetry and prose from various perspectives within a single story. I don’t know quite where it will go, but I’m now committed to turning it into something, and it has become the first priority among my writing projects. I even plan to share a bit of this story here, within the next couple of months.
So, I’m finally going from being only a writer to being a true alchemist. And it has, and I hope will have, an incredibly powerful effect on my life.
Never devalue or regret your experiences. They are lead. You are a true alchemist. Every day, you are blessed with the opportunity to turn the world into words. Your life can become one extraordinary story.