Sitting on the edge of the mini plane is reminiscent of sitting in front of my laptop. The luminescent monitor that glows blue and white in front of me is very much like a sea of sky awaiting my entrance, my plummet. It is terrifying. I want to jump, I want to write, but I fear the fall, the plunge, the loss of control.
All the people who say “I would never do that” remind me of all the people who respond with “I could never do that” when I’m tell them I’m a writer. I’m not saying all writers should skydive, or that all skydivers should write about their experiences, but a lot of writers are a little insane, and many insane people would jump out of planes.
I begin my dive. The earth is a grid below me. An 8 ½ x 11 inch piece of paper with an MLA heading and a title with a perfect colon at its center. The ground is the goal of the graduate student, of the English enthusiast, of the writer. The clouds become paragraphs, seemingly heavy and filled with molecules and weather, but they simply float, easeful on the page. I fall through them and my adrenaline builds, my ideas soar.
I find that there is no loss of control. The fall puts me into the “zone” and it is a controlled fall. My body scrolls through the air, gliding and picking up speed. The energy of flying is indescribable.
The biggest risk is whether or not my parachute will open and catch me, cradle me, rocking me gently back down to land. Instead of lingering on this matter, I keep my body light, I practice my craft, and I pull the cord.
When I'm falling, zoning, creating, I can’t be sure what to call it, what genre bucket to toss it into, what feedback to look for when fishing for critique. All I can think about is the moment; the way the white space gets filled, the way I hug my knees to my chest in preparation for the descent, and how good it feels to press enter.
When I undo my safety apparatus, I am set free from the deadlines, the heavy reading load, the pursuit of my voice, because in searching for all these things, in accomplishing a death-defying feat of flight, I have seen how small the pages really are from up above, each plot of land resembling chapbooks and novellas, and I know that while my time is valuable, my work is what’s important.
As writers, we all end up jumping. The university becomes a great skydiving school teaching us all how to fly, fall, leap, and land on our feet in metaphorical Elysian fields filling them up with our stories.
Brittany Ackerman is a second year MFA in creative non-fiction. She believes in magic and wants her life to be a Disney movie. Her work has been featured in 3Elements Review and One Image, One Hundred Voices. She would also like to thank all the haters, because as stated in Hustler’s Ambition in the words of 50 Cent, “I need you to hate so I can use you for your energy.”