Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why I'm Writing, Again

When I was young, I loved watching Murder She Wrote. What kind of kid in grade five didn't? Of course I also listened to Barbra Streisand, so maybe I was in the minority there. Either way, that's when I decided that "when I grew up" I was going to be an author! I was very excited about this. I saved up all my money and went to the toy section of Zellers and bought a typewriter. I think it may have been a Winnie the Pooh typewriter, I'm not sure. I do know that it only typed in uppercase letters. I typed up short stories, and when I couldn't think of any, I typed up agendas for play dates. 1) Bake a cake 2) Go to park 3) Come home. Eat cake I wasn't very good in my new found career.

Later, in junior high, we moved to a small town. Everyone new each other either through generations of family relations or by blood. I only stood out in two ways. First I was new, which made me different. Secondly I was good at writing poetry. They didn't even rhyme. Classy. I had profound difficulty writing short stories though. A few months into my new academic home I read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It changed not only the way I wrote, but my own inner monologue. The day I closed the cover of that book my sense of humor was born. Oh dear. That first year I won my first, and only, award EVER. That little creative writing trophy still sits on a shelf at my parents house under, what I would suspect, about an inch of dust.

Our high school was very small. As a consequence some classes were only offered once a year. I very much wanted to take the one creative writing class that was offered, but, alas, it conflicted with other mandated classes. The only English class I could take was Essay Techniques. Snore. Many of my friends DID take the class, so naturally, I did all there assignments and projects. I always eagerly awaited "their" marks. I have no idea how I did in my class. It didn't seem important somehow.

Once in university I decided I would put time aside everyday to write. I would take my three ring binder and pen and sit in some out of the way corner of campus and write. And I totally sucked at it. I felt a lot of pressure to write as well as all the authors I admired. Their characters were flush with life and dimension! Mine were paper dolls and just as two dimensional. If no one cares about the characters they won't care about the story. The characters ARE the story! I concluded that I didn't have enough life experience to write anything of worth. I would have to "get a life" so to speak, before I could even have a hope at writing anything worthy of the paper it was on. I put down my pen, closed the binder, and it stayed closed for nearly fifteen years.

Now I have a husband, two wonderful daughters, and a host of interesting people in my life. I've done things I've never expected me to be capable of. I by no means have a life time of experience to draw on. BUT, I do have experience enough to know we all have a voice, a story to tell. I have a voice and many stories. They are equally worthy to be told as all the great writers combined. Experience has also told me that the best way to learn is by doing. Well duh! So as clumsy as it is, that's what I aim to do. Start again. I owe it to that little girl with the Winnie the Pooh typewriter. She had big dreams and who am I to stand in her way?

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