thinking about writing

At the age of six, as my fingers first found how to shape the alphabet, I decided to become a person of letters…I am still studying verbs and the mystery of how they connect nouns.  I am more suspicious of adjectives than at any other time in all my born days.  I have forgotten the meaning of twenty or thirty of my poems written thirty or forty years ago…I should like to think that as I go on writing there will be sentences truly alive, with verbs quivering, with nouns giving color and echoes.  It could be, in the grace of God, I shall live to be eighty-nine, as did Hokusai, and speaking my farewell to earthly scenes, I might paraphrase:  “If God had let me live five years longer I should have been a writer.”         –Carl Sandburg

The other day Nikki mentioned in a post how she wants to write a novel, and it got me thinking about writing.  I always wrote, and always wanted to be a writer.  And I still do, I think..

I think I want to be the Laura Ingalls Wilder or Maud Hart Lovelace or Louisa May Alcott or L.M. Montgomery of my generation–you know, write that enduring semi-autobiographical series of books that just lives on.  Ha.  You can’t say I don’t dream big.

But.  For a while that love of writing went away.  It was so easy for one teacher’s careless words to completely crush me.  As an almost-teacher myself, I am constantly vigilant to not hurt my own students in the same way.

I have written a little bit in the last year.  Last year, I started doing nanowrimo, and ended up with a few pages of short story.  And more recently, I’ve finished up a short-ish story reimagining my life and putting my friends at our 10 year high school reunion.  Whitney’s read it.  I’m pretty enchanted with it.  I kind of want to share it, but at the same time, there are people who I don’t want to read it..Nobody that reads this blog, but other people we know..Still, it’s fun, and pretty funny, to me at least..I read it when I want to laugh, because I always laugh.  Especially when Jamie Dickens opens his big mouth.  Oh man. 

So.  On writing the great American novel.  Or the great American children’s book series.  I just keep telling myself that there’s plenty of time.  I am only 21 years old; I do not have to write an amazing book or story or poem or anything in the next two years.  I have the rest of my life.  And I think it’s better that way..It takes the pressure off, to remind myself of that.  What about all of you other future writers?  What do you think about all this?



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3 responses to “thinking about writing

  1. Whitney

    I love that you used the word “enchanted” when talking about how you felt about your story. I really, really liked it, too. I think that it should be passed around. I mean, at this point, if we all can’t laugh at each other in a light-hearted way, then what have we been doing all these years? Have we been cultivating friendships or just mere say-hello-on-the-street acquaintanceship?

    I sometimes feel the same way about being so old (read: young) and not having anything big in print yet. BUT, alas, we are young, and only mere sponges at this point. We are supposed to enjoy this mind trip called college and growing up. We are supposed to be taking notes on all the things we see, touch, smell, hear, laugh at, cry about, and go through to make us change our minds.

    I have to remind myself that no one has put a big egg timer on my desk that will go off in X amount of days/weeks, and if I don’t have the answer to all the searches for the greatest novel of all time…that’s okay. No one puts that pressure on me except myself.

    The reason we get antsy is that us writers feel like we are nothing but a container for all the ideas we have ever had. They buzz around in our brains and keep us awake at night, tuned out during lectures, and make us live in a semi-dream world. What can be done to relieve this mental pressure? Writing them out of course. The problem is that we start to write and what comes out is not the same as what we hear in our heads. OR we sit down to write and four hours later still have a blank page in front of us. Writers do not have an easy time.

    But we’ll be okay. I fully believe all of the writers of our time will be anthologized in Norton, called the Coosa School. I’ve told you this. We are awesome writers, and we just have to stick together and keep sharing work. We have to share what we write to spread around ideas and be encouraged by people we trust.

    So at the end of the day, keep learning, keep absorbing, keep writing and keep sharing. One day people will be studying us. 😀

  2. I think you should follow your dream and not be intimidated by what other people may think. It’s your life — and as one wise friend always tells me….”There is no dress rehearsal for your life.” Follow your heart. You never know where it will take you. Good luck.

  3. I remember a teacher telling me in art school that I should drop his watercolor class, that I would never get it and that I was so bad, he couldn’t help me. (That sounds horrible but that’s what he said.) I didn’t drop the class and by the end of the semester, I had developed my own style. I have spent the last ten years making a living as a greeting card designer from that same style.

    Dream big, be patient.

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