When I was in elementary school, I won a lot of those Young Writer conferences. We’d write a book in class, Cathleen usually did the artwork for mine (because I am NOT an illustrator), and then I’d get a day ‘off’ from school to go some place else with a lot of other kids who won for their schools/classrooms and we’d share our books. I took a great (fun! thoughtful!) writing class from teacher Cindy Hopkins in probably 4th grade. Loved it. We got to write outside! Under trees! Laying in the grass! Not at a desk! It was wonderful.
I was kind of a writer in middle school. Wrote for the school paper, which was a lot of fun, and a good excuse to interview cute male athletes about the sports they were playing. But my English teacher said I was not a writer, which was a bit confusing since I’d been one before and had articles published in the school paper.
I wrote a bit in high school, but liked being on the radio more. Easier to be anonymous, and got to write commercials and little stories and different things that weren’t graded so harshly. I did write a poem senior year about a cute boy with the most amazing blue eyes. Still have the poem, and the cute boy.
I wrote in college, mostly papers. I wrote after college,for some local papers and ‘stuff.’ Nothing serious, and very little that felt creative. More like assignments. Assignments don’t feel like I am a Writer. When my hands are writing (or typing) on their own and I can hold a verbal conversation with somebody else while my hands keep going, then I am a Writer. I am expressing things I have little control over – they just flow out without me thinking.
I wrote sometimes during the last 20 years, usually when I needed to figure something momentous out that I couldn’t work out otherwise – my parents’ divorce, 9/11, raising kids. Those writings are hidden and are just for me.
And now I want to return to writing. I want to Be A Writer. I want to write a family history, or a poem, or whatever flows out when I’m doing something else. And I love this ‘challenge’ with Ms. D and K (and maybe Nate!), and the idea of a daily prompt to get me going again so that I can return to Being a Writer.