I have had a life-long relationship with writing, that has been by turns euphoric, heart-breaking, tedious, enlightening, discouraging, and profitable- but continually unexpected.
Like most people, I came to writing through reading. I was absolutely drawn to reading. Anything I could see, I read. Then at the age of five, I was reading a book of Hans Christian Andersen tales and was inspired to write my own. I wrote The Flying Whale, one typed-page of youthful exuberance and simplicity. But somehow, to this day, I remember the surprise of finding that story inside myself and how happy it made me to see it magically transformed onto paper.
My next clear memory was of a class assignment in which I was asked to invent a new product. I designed a viewing phone, in which you could see the person WHILE you spoke with them. I was so proud of that invention and surprised as I saw the technology develop, seemingly, from the mind's eye of younger me.
The other aspect from my early life that stands out to me is how much I read. I grew up on a farm and reading was the food and water and oxygen that kept my lonely spirit alive and thriving. I used to ride my bike into the library in town and check out a bag of books, only to ride home, read voraciously. Lather, rinse, repeat.
For the rest of my formative years, I remember reading and writing, but primarily as a function of school. I remember after college a friend loaned me a copy of a John Grisham novel and I was completely enamored with a book that was that much fun, since all I'd been reading were textbooks and intellectual literature.
There were two turning points for me in college:
First, I've always had the problem of my mind racing. A topic, imaginary conversation, or just a single thought could paralyze my mind and keep sleep or concentration away for hours. It wasn't until well into college that I learned that writing down the thoughts in my mind helped me focus and capture them from racing. From that, I filled journals with the words that helped me process and discipline my thoughts- and finally get some sleep.
Second, I was recruited to be a part of a new course, Playwrighting. This course was by far one of the most influential for me personally. Not only because of its value of practicing the craft and creativity, but also because of the cast of characters who were in the course with me- who inspired me and also helped me define myself as a writer in contrast to who they were: their artsy versus my literal. I even had the euphoric experience of having my one-act play performed and then workshopped with an audience; which I'll cover in a later post.
The final exam for the course was to explain what grade I felt I deserved. I learned from the professor later that I was able to use my response to transform my final grade from a B to an A. I don't think I've ever had this thought before, but upon reflection, I now believe that course was the new baseline that cemented the idea in my mind that I could write and make a living.
Also in college, I started writing a novel based on a very vivid dream I had had, using a hand-me-down IMB clone from my brother. But I'll save that tale for a future post as well.
Writer Grows Up
Life went on and I continued to journal, especially about my spiritual life, relationships, and emotions. Writing was also an necessary part of my job as a teacher; and is an absolute basic, daily requirement in my current position. I even took a stab at freelance writing when I transitioned from teaching to my current job- though I'm choosing to consider it as simply a first attempt.
And here I am today, happily blogging on WordPress. But only because of the most recent twist and turn in this life-long journey: my husband heard the writer inside me longing to express herself; and he believed in that writer enough to create this page for her.
Out of the clear blue sky, he IM'd me a link to a site and informed me that I now had a blog, and that he believed I could inspire others with it. I was sobbing then and it makes me cry now to remember the surprise and profound humility I felt at having someone believe in me even more than I had hoped for myself in years. To top it off he had selected the name of the blog from a meaningful, but obscure reference that I had almost forgotten and did even know that he knew, Paloma's Ink.
That one act of love rekindled my voice and prompted me to rejoined the journey.
Now it's your turn:
Has writing (or reading) played a substantial role in your life? Where did it start? How did it develop? What are your hopes and dreams for your writing in the future.
Use the comments section below to share your story.