I’m M.K. Harlan and I’m a storyteller.
I used to call myself a writer, but there’s so much more that I’m interested in. I’ve spent/am spending years trying to understand what it means to be passionate about something. I’m starting to figure out what it is for me.
I started writing when I was young and never looked back, but I could never decide on a genre or even if that was what I really loved. I loved music, art, food, and so many other things that I can’t begin to list them all.
I fell into a trap, convinced I had to choose one thing that would be the only thing I focused on and had passion for as long as I was above the ground. A “career”.
I attended college at Ball State University in Muncie, IN and graduated three weeks before my 21st birthday with a bachelor of arts in English and a concentration in creative writing. I was convinced that I needed to focus on one thing and that I had to turn that one thing into a career.
Until the winter after I graduated college, it had been six years since I’d done a painting, three since I’d drawn anything other than a star or a smiley face on someone’s essay that I was critiquing. Until April of 2018 I hadn’t touched a musical instrument since my last day of band my junior year of high school. Until then, I thought that in order to have passion, it had to be about one thing, and one thing alone. I thought that writing was my passion and I shunned everything else for its pursuit.
But, I became hollow, empty as a writer. I no longer had the spark that made my stories real, that made me love what I was doing. Writing was something I couldn’t bring myself to do anymore, I went for so long without creating anything.
The problem? I was a writer, and that’s all I was. I’d mistaken a tool in my box for the thing that I was truly passionate for, and I’d done it for years.
I’m not really passionate about writing. I’m passionate about stories, and stories can be told with more than just words.
Every song, with or without lyrics, tells a story. You might have to figure it out for yourself, but they do. Everything you see has a story, every drawing, painting, object, all of them. Every recipe, every taste, tells the story of something. Every smell, perfume, whatever – it tells a story. The way things feel when you touch them, that holds a story.
Words are just one way to express a story. I’ve spent a long time ignoring everything but the words. But now, I’m adding tools to my box and I’m telling stories again!