Natasha posed this question: What’s your first memory of wanting to be a writer? When and how did you get the courage to come “out of the writer’s closet”?
Every writer has that first memory. The one usually from childhood when writing became an “art form” not an assignment required for school. Mine was the result of my first acknowledged failure. Fourth grade math. UGH! They introduced new math that year, and sealed my fate. My teacher, fearing I might fall into a deep depression, decided I needed to find my own “strength” to explore. She informed me I was her strongest writer – a fact I now know to question – and so would I “edit” the class newspaper? We’d never had a class newspaper before so the adult me knows this was to soothe my wounds, but it thrilled the fourth grade me. I took my new “journalism role” seriously and put together a class newsletter that established my first goal in life.
Journalism. Then, Vietnam was piped into our homes, and I decided I on photo-journalism. My first journalism professor in college turned me off on journalism, and I wound up with my second career choice: teacher. Never regretted that for a minute.
I work with student writers every day, and I draw on their energy, and they draw on mine. And that is the true beauty of it for writers. Community.
Fourth grade self – that math? Behind me. Writing – a part of me, always.
Be sure to check out Marsha’s take on Out of the Closet Writer tomorrow.