Reading books about writing make me believe I can write. Every sentence inspires me and creates a mental picture of my hands flying over the keyboard generating thought provoking prose. Taking that picture one step further, I see a reader pause and make a pensive turn of the head to contemplate a particularly poignant passage. At that point, when I am enthused about writing and my abilities, I should put down the book and reach for my computer. But I continue to read.
It is so much easier to read about writing than to write. I started blogging to find the writer that I know is deep within me. She was there when I was ten years old and every experience was new. I had to share them with the world. I wrote every day. I wrote short essays in my precise printing and then later in the cursive script that was required in elementary school. I wrote poems. I wrote imaginative stories about little girls with hats and silly fears of being sucked down the drain with the bath water. There was always something to write about.
In the eighth grade I won first place in the school essay contest and received a blue ribbon, which I still have, for an essay that included the phrase, “the pitter patter of little raindrops.” At the end-of-the-year assembly the winners from each grade read their papers aloud. I squeezed the words “pitterpatter” together and spoke them in a quick staccato voice mimicking the sound I heard in my head. I felt so creative.
When I got to high school, the only class I liked was Creative Writing. I was dismayed to discover that I wasn’t the best writer in the class. Each week the teacher would select an essay to read aloud to the class. Where did everyone come up with their ideas? How did they manage to make everything so interesting? I kept writing and writing, and one day it happened. The teacher picked my paper to read!
Writing made my days better. It brought me joy. Writing helped me discover more about myself. I loved writing! And then, day-by-day I wrote less and less. It happened slowly, and I barely noticed that I wasn’t writing any more. I still thought of myself as a writer even though the only thing I wrote were “to do” lists and research papers.
It’s been five decades since I heard my essay read to my high school Creative Writing class. That’s fifty years! How could I have gone so long without writing? Is she still there? Is that young girl with all the ideas and need to tell her stories still there? I’m looking.