STEEPED BY SAMIA #12 | 12.16.22
Intuition, daydreams, & the bizarre infatuation that keeps me showing up.
Right about now, 6 months after restarting my blog, I thought I would start to feel less interested in it. In the back of my mind, I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. But I’m happy to inform you: I feel the exact opposite. This blog post is an end of year reflection and a follow-up to my first Steeped by Samia, on retracing my steps with writing.
In Hyouka (2012), an anime about a high school Classics Club that solves everyday mysteries, a character named Chitanda Eru becomes so curious about something, that her eyebrows furrow and her eyes sparkle with determination. That’s how I feel internally when I get an idea for Steeped — a rush of energy that has me typing furiously in my Notes app.
I’ve realized how powerful it is to have my own storytelling platform.
— A space that continues to evolves as I get older. It was first a post-grad blog, then Dreams In-Progress interview series, now it’s Steeped by Samia, and I’m excited to see what it is in the future.
My goal for Steeped next year is to keep exploring ideas that give me energy — even the ones that seem “too niche” — and to write them to the fullest. Uninhibited. I also want to start a new interview series. I haven’t figured it out yet, so stay tuned!
The comments & messages I’ve gotten along the way have been so heartwarming. I hope you know how much these affirmations mean to writers! Even looking at my WordPress analytics and knowing that people are reading my work — that’s a pretty cool feeling.
A wonderful writer friend, Devaki, wrote a delightful Twitter comment about my blog:
“It literally brings back the feeling of reading the Sunday newspaper (my favorite feeling of all time).”— Devaki Devay
What I felt when I read this, dear reader? Infinite.
The stories in my head have been quiet lately.
— the ones who’ve kept me company for a while, the ones who are like acquaintance-friends, the ones that will never meet with words. These stories come and go, in the little world in my head. They often appear like scenes in an anime or manga.
For the longest time, I’ve identified as a fiction writer. If you ask my extended family about me, they’ll probably tell you that I’m working on a novel, lol. But in the past couple of years, I’ve gravitated toward creative nonfiction: Responding to our existing world v. creating a world from scratch. It feels like a better fit for me, for the time being.
I will say that Fiction Writer Samia is still a big part of me, and she shows up in my writing style — those whimsical bits & baubles.
The stories in my head have been quieter lately. It’s almost as if my internal self can feel a shift in my approach to writing. Or perhaps I don’t need these stories the same way I used to need them. I’d say they come to me in my dreams now, those wondrous & otherworldly moments.
My subconscious is a fiction writer.
I’ve been daydreaming of an extraordinary literary life.
Exploring bookstores around the world for unexpected gems. Attending author talks and cheering on friends following their literary pursuits. Going on weekend getaways in nature or a bustling city to gaze at a scenic view while I write. My future home is filled with books, stacked in corners and crammed (artfully) on shelves. There’s a cozy tea station tucked into a bookshelf — that’s why you’re smelling a hint of earl grey in the air.
Perhaps my pathway leads me to more glamorous writer life. I’m sitting at my desk in a puff-sleeved, mint green dress and my navy blue glasses are perched on my nose, getting my picture taken for Vogue or Harper’s BAZAAR.
Perhaps I lead a more quietly-fulfilling pathway. I’m continuing to share my everyday world on my blog and spend sprawling hours of the day reading, thinking, and dreaming.
I brush against these possibilities in my day-to-day life and keep them tucked close to me. Whatever it looks like in the future, I’m called to live a literary life. It’s something that helps me breathe easier.
How do you reconcile living a robust literary life with the state of the writing world today?
Magazines shuttering, huge layoffs, unions unrecognized, the upholding of white, patriarchal values & dominant groups, the lack of institutional support and structure, capitalism. Even the state of academia and historically women’s liberal arts colleges like Mills not being able to sustain themselves.
It all feels so connected and deliberate. As a collective, we’re being conditioned to create and view storytelling in a very specific way — and everything else doesn’t seem to have a place.
This, coupled with the very real way that we can’t extract ourselves from the pace of the internet: the volatile algorithm, the prioritization of short-form content, the evil dude(s) taking over social media platforms, to name a few.
A lot of this is swirling in my head. I wish I could look at this in a more solution-oriented way, but it’s mostly a feedback loop of “Why does it have to be like this??” My hope, lately, is found in community and the ways we support each other in big and small ways.
I’m building fortitude & intention in my writer’s journey.
It’s hard to know if there’s something here — *gestures to the void* — for me in the writing space. The internal and external indicators of whether to keep going aren’t very clear. Part of it, I can decipher, is intuition and this bizarre infatuation that keeps me showing up.
Writers naturally move away from and toward writing. You’re confronting what writing means to you in different stages of life and what you need and yearn from it. My goals are shifting from “Publish a NYT-bestselling novel!!” to “Just do the writing thing!!” — More learning, exploring, and uncovering life’s truths.
There are so many things I want to write about, but I don’t feel ready to write them. I’m learning to accept that. The connections I’m starting to piece together right now in my mid-20’s will become easier to articulate as I get older. My lovely writer friend Nivita, creator of The Manam newsletter, and I were texting about this and she thoughtfully wrote:
“I believe deeply that one day, we will have the strength to write about all that we’ve experienced. I think there’s so much unsaid that makes us who we are right now.”— Nivita Sriram
Reading this felt like a lightbulb turned on in my head.
Curled up on a Friday night, after getting ready for bed,
I watched Oprah’s conversation with Quinta Brunson, the creator of Abbott Elementary. I leave you with their illuminating words on success & direction:
OPRAH: “By the time you get to that age, and the star bursts and the rest of the world gets to see who you are and everything you’ve been working on, it’s everything that’s ever happened to you up until this moment.”
QUINTA: “I agree with that 100% … Every single thing I’ve done has led to now. I embrace all of it.”
OPRAH: “… Whatever you’re doing right now is preparing you for whatever is gonna come. So, nothing is wasted, if you’re paying attention.”
QUINTA: “… I do believe it’s important to know the direction you’re going in with things … I had a dance teacher, Miss Holly, she said as a ballerina, you should always feel like you have a string tied from your head to the ceiling. So, no matter what move you do, if you arabesque or plié, you’re always gonna be brought back to that center, that string. I think about life that way. No matter what move I do, I feel like I have a string connecting me to the top of the universe … I don’t veer too far away from it. And it makes everything I do worth it.”Oprah and Quinta Brunson Abbott Elementary, OWN Spotlight
As we finish a new year & enter a new one, may we continue to affirm and reaffirm our intentions toward our passions. —S.A.
Steep On This:
- A book: These Precious Days by Ann Patchett
- A song: Gaddi Red Challenger by Babbulicious —stuck in my head!
- A TV show: Dash & Lily (2020)
- A newsletter: Dishes to Delight by Bre Graham
- A podcast: Code Switch by NPR
- A tea: Celestial Seasonings Peppermint Tea
STEEPED BY SAMIA #11: I’m in my flop era — but I mean that in the kindest way to myself.
About This Blog:
Steeped by Samia is a space where I can simmer on thoughts & curiosities in the scope of digital culture, creativity, life, & more. Far too often, my writing ideas fizzle out in energy; I never get to see them to their full potential. While building my rhythm with writing, I want to share these ideas with you.
Stay Up-To-Date on my blog by clicking the ‘follow’ button at the bottom of the page, and you will receive an email every time I post. I aim to post a new installment at least once or twice a month. Thank you for supporting my storytelling!🧡