SATURDAY, AUGUST 29, 2009
Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer. Okay, so that might be overstating things a bit. I can distinctly remember a period when I was fifteen or so when I didn’t want to be much of anything. However, when I was three, hadn’t a clue about letters, words or sentences and couldn’t read or write even one teenytinybit, I wanted to be a writer. My parents decked me out with tablets, pens, pencils and markers galore. I’d sit on the beige carpet in my bedroom, scribbling on the blank sheets with endless energy. I filled notebook after notebook. Sketch pad after sketch pad. Now, I know what you’re thinking: if I couldn’t write, then what was I writing anyway? The answer is simple. I drew lines. I drew squiggles. I made loopy cursive imitations that, in my just-past-toddler brain looked like my mom’s own cursive hand. I wasn’t quite ready for my dad’s all-capital print.
I sat on the floor next to the bench–yes, I had a bench in my bedroom–and scribbled away. Afternoons rolled by and so did the pages. If only writing came so easy, now. I’d speak the words I “wrote” aloud, telling myself the stories I knew I wasn’t committing to paper.
Before kindergarten, my parents guided me through the pre-school handbooks to prepare the new-to-school five-year-old for reading and mastering the ABC’s. I flew through the books. Amazing how young children pick up language. The letters were second nature. It was like I already knew them. They’d just needed to be given a name.
Once I could get through rudimentary books without the aid of an adult, I’d pronounce throughout the house, “I can read!” in a mocking, self-congratulatory tone not befitting of a proper young lady. My mom could no longer leave the Christmas shopping list out in plain view. She had a kindergarten spy on her hands that needed to be dealt with appropriately.
Throughout elementary school, I penned several stories that I’d rather forget. One had to do with a hot air balloon and a fire-breathing sandman. Another dealt with kids roaming a house where a woman was trapped in the walls. Yes, I’ve always had a fondness for the macabre and horrific. Blame my dad.
As I got older, writing and I weren’t always on the best of terms. I loathed school. I let the social pressures of middle and high school ruin what I’d always loved. Reading and writing became “have-to’s” instead of “want-to’s.” I did have a few teachers that encouraged me, always English instructors, that despite my awkwardness and inattentiveness made me feel like I had something to offer (I’m looking at you Ms. Lundberg, Ms. Fletcher and Ms. McCabe!).
College changed everything. All of a sudden, I loved school. The social crap didn’t matter. I could focus on what I loved: reading and writing. Still, most of my time was spent writing papers, essays and pouring over “have-to” texts. I soaked it up, desperately trying to make up for my high school slackerness. Creative writing classes brought me back to square one. I was the little girl sitting on the carpet scribbling images of words. The world of storytelling opened up to me.
I’ve dabbled with submitting my work since college. But the past month has proved fruitful. A fiction acceptance at Tweet the Meat, a Twitter horror-zine, and a poetry acceptance at Electric Velocipede have given me the encouragement (hell, I’ll admit it, the validation) I needed.
So what’s next? Several stories are in the slush piles of magazines that span the current spectrum of sci-fi and horror online and print publications. I await my rejections anxiously.
Most importantly, I realized if I want to be writer, I had better go ahead and be one. So that’s what I’m working on now–the act of being a writer. And for the first time, I think I can do it.