I write, therefore, I am
|When did you start writing? And why? Was it a talent waiting to be revealed or did you need to work on it? Good luck with the prompt.
Writing. A driving need, a desire to express myself on paper (or on napkins, candy wrappers – anywhere that will stay still). The freedom to leave the world I live in and create a new realm. A realm where I can be someone other than myself.
I cannot tell you when I started writing, but I have a hunch it was close to the time I began to read. The magic of books opened to me when I was four or five, before I started school. As the oldest child in a divorced home, I was saddled with more than my share of responsibilities, most of them in the form of caring for a younger sister and, years later, a brother. Reading took me out of the universe that required me to grow up quickly and into any universe I wanted to be. I could belong to a happy family – or a family far more dysfunctional than my own. The possibilities were endless.
It should not be surprising that, once given the key to leave the world behind, I eagerly siezed the opportunity to create my own worlds. I can pinpoint my journaling behavior to the age of eight or nine – I always kept a diary. I recall writing short stories around the same time. And my first novel – a despicable piece that I reworked several times and that was influenced by my unfortunate reading of V.C. Andrews and Danielle Steele – was finished by the time I was eleven. I believe it was sixty pages or so. Yet I am sure that many minor scribblings were completed before these more memorable ones. If nothing else, I always took pleasure in seeing how many vocabulary words I could work into a single cohesive sentence (we were supposed to do one sentence per word, but my teachers never complained). I think I once managed to work eight or ten into an intelligible bit.
Did my talent need work? Only the most egotistical (and probably least published) writer will tell you that their published works sprung from their forehead in gloriously perfect semblence. You've already heard me turn up my nose over my first – and second and third and fourth – novel (all the same, just in different versions). At various points in my life, I devoted more time to improvement. Lately, however, the goal has been enjoyment.
To me, writing is like eternity. There is no clear mark for the beginning, and I hope the end stretches on forever unseen. It feels as though it has always been part of my soul. And I hope it always will be.