As I may have mentioned a time or two I have been having a difficult time pushing myself in the right direction. Actually, that’s not true. I do really good for a while then something insane happens to harsh my mellow and I get temporarily derailed. This creates an environment in which I find it hard to produce something if there’s not a deadline exhaling hot, steamy breath down my neck. (I know, ooh gross. I’m writing frisky romance short stories to help Actor Boy with his transportation fees.)
I know that I’m going to have to create an essay about “Why I write” for the Langdon Review and I shouldn’t gripe, but I don’t want to sound like a mental patient in this scholarly tome. Forever. In Print. For Real. This sends a icy cold finger of fear down my spine to the small of my back causing me to start, frightened; but somehow retaining my warm smile (I’m still working on the stories and it’s causing me to get a little blurry.)
Anyway, I’m fairly sure I don’t want fluttery and frisky language to leak out when I actually write the essay. I know who I am and I’m pretty sure I won’t have the final draft ready until the last possible moment, but I do want to at least practice.
I am very fortunate in that come from a family that values education and encourages intellectual curiosity. My parents were both in college when my brother and I were small. I remember being lightly reprimanded for highlighting sections in a book because I saw my parents doing that. I have vague memories of seeing a professor’s office door with the letters next their name. I wanted to be able to have a sign on my door with letters after my name.
My handwriting has always been terrible, but I have always had the urge to write, tell stories, and read. Unfortunately, I did not grow up in the computer age and the best of my creativity was recorded in spiral notebooks. When I was in the sixth grade I attempted to write a musical about the Pilgrims and their tradition of prayer meetings . I was a very naive child, but I had big dreams.
Immortalizing Puritans took a backseat to the creation of a Young Adult novel that was an unofficial group project among several girls in my class. I was the keeper of the notebook and did most of the writing, but everyone contributed to the concept and sometimes provided unsolicited criticism.
I have no idea what happened to this notebook, but it was the first time that I used writing as an escape. Writing gave me the power to go beyond the day to day limits of an 11 year old Catholic School student. In my story, I was a bright, pretty teen who was falling in love with one of the very popular triplets at her school (Everyone wanted to date a cute guy, so we turned the cute guy in the class into triplets. Very fair minded of us. I got the sweet one. It was my notebook and I had to keep it safe from boys, parents and nuns. I deserved a perk.)
From that point on, I used my writing as an escape. I had two running projects, one in the school year and one during the summer. I had a set of friends that were part of the process for each of those. One project was a historical romance, one was a soap opera set at a professional theater
I did write papers and essays for school, but the only one that every reached the passion of the other projects was part of my final for Senior Honors English. I wrote an essay about Paradise Lost being a thinly veiled attack on women by John Milton.
I still remember how much I wanted to punch him in the face, not just because I was forced to read his work while dressed in a plaid uniform in the balmy heat of a Texas spring.
That made me short of breath. I should go do something else for awhile