Saturday, May 12, 2012

A writing life?

I've been writing for a long time.  When I was a girl I remember receiving a locked diary for Christmas one year. I felt so mature. Someone thought enough of my 9 year old life to give me a diary to record my thoughts and daily life in. I think that I was able to keep writing in it for a month or so.

When I reached high school. I was a new kid to the school. I had moved to a new town and did not know anybody. So when I arrived in study hall one day to sit at a table with a girl; who my mom introduced me to, a tentative friendship began. Soon there were a gaggle of us getting shushed by the teacher. I was able to break the ice with a story I had written about an egg salad sandwich cum science experiment gone wild. It was written as a series of letters to teachers meant to be excuses for not attending class. It was funny. My classmates laughed a lot. We were shushed some more. Later I would revise this and submit as a class assignment. I received an A for my effort.

Most of high school life was spent writing on the side. Poetry, overly fraught with teen angst was the next genre to take my imagination. A teacher I had senior year taught me the valuable lessons of writing what I know and showing, not telling. These lessons helped grow my poetry.. At that age writing was about the act of writing.   It was about expression for its own sake. Perhaps a chaotic childhood helped me to find an outlet for expressing and organizing the chaos into something I could understand.

I was an English major in college. I loved to read and I loved to write. I got to do both while I was there. I never finished the degree but I consider myself an English Major for life. I am always writing, I am always reading. I did not stay in college but instead chose to live the life of vagabond for a couple of years. I worked for a nuclear arms control lobby. I followed the Grateful Dead for a while. I had some adventures for sure but, at heart, I like be settled. 

Once I decided to settle I began to write more frequently. I started frequenting poetry readings. The writing was still a little immature but I took the bold step to consider getting published. I had a poem published in a local poetry journal called, "Potato Eyes". This was the most validating experience for me as someone who liked to write.

I worked in kitchens and bookstores. I lived in a town, Portland, Me, where the writing community was strong and there were plenty of opportunities to share what I wrote. Writing groups, writing classes, open readings.

Tristan came along and I reached a writing silence. Motherhood will do that . I think motherhood those first few years of a child's life, especially single motherhood, is a difficult balance. If I found myself with extra time I would try to catch up on all the items on the ever present to-do list. But finally the combination of a broken heart and a writing friend, Steve Lutrell of the Cafe Review, convinced me to take up the pen again.

And pen it was. The, now,  ever present computer was not a device commonly available  at the time. I have boxes and boxes of old notebooks filled with ramblings and multiple revisions of poems I wrote at the time. This time around the writing took on the maturity of a woman. The writing was deeper and layered without needing to tease out these qualities with any great effort. I took any free time I had, any time Tristan was with his dad, to write. It was exciting and mysterious. I never knew where the writing would take me. I never knew when inspiration would take me but inevitably it would happen while I was walking. I lived in a city where you could witness a paragraph in someone else's story and fashion it into a stanza for my own creative endeavor. I had another poem published at the," Cafe Review" I was selected to join a juried poetry reading at a local Bookstore. It felt like, with some more effort, I could make the writing more than a creative outlet.

And then...I hit a writer's block. I felt like there was only so much navel gazing someone could do before all they found was lint. I was finding a lot of lint.

I moved north. I met Mark. We married, had a baby boy, moved to the country. I was living a different dream. And day I am standing in a gulley picking wild raspberries. Mosquitos were humming and lines of poetry awere running though my head.We had just hooked up DSL in our home and so on a lark I began this blog. This was not the kind of writing I was accustomed to. Sometimes the entries were informative. Sometimes they were opinionated. Sometimes they were reaching for something more creative. This was writing that was enough. It didn't have to have a life beyond the bits on some hard drive. I could find some immediate satisfaction without the angst of rejection. I didn't ( but sometimes should have) revised the work several times. This was writing that happened when there were kids running around, dinner was on the stove and the dog was barking at a squirrel outside the window. It was writing that I did not take seriously. But it was writing just the same.

This morning I am sitting upstairs in my little local library,  It is a quiet, un-distracted by housework time. This is now my dedicated writing time. I am now writing beyond the blog. It feels really different this time. Perhaps it is my brain returned from Evan's early years. Perhaps it is what I find among some of my other mom friends; the desire to be more than just a mom, to find some other means of expression. Either way here I am again writing and wanting to do more with it.

So yes, I guess I am a writer. I've never really called myself a writer before. Somehow that seems a title that can only be validated by publication.  This is what I hope to do with the writing beyond the blog. Can't wait to share this with you.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

You mention that you might be looking for paid work, and I wanted to pass along this information to you. It's a link for paid jobs for bloggers. Some of it won't be applicable to you or your writing style, and some of the "jobs" suck, but it's something, and it might be better than an outside-the-home job ... especially considering you do so much "at" home. To have to pay someone else to do all of those things would not be so great, I think.

You might not make a lot, but my belief is that you'd make enough to keep you at home ;).