What’s in the Hidden Box: Being a Writer

I have loved writing since I was a kid. I got more into it in high school. At the time, I wrote poetry. Recently, I dug up an old journal out of a box in a cabinet in my studio. It was there alongside my two failed Road tests.

I couldn’t even remember the notebook, a green Meade wire bound notebook. I started reading it. It was a strange time capsule to 1985, 11th grade. I will copy some entries and post them here soon.

Very bizarre to be in my high school self. There was also the teacher in the notebook/writer’s journal. I didn’t remember who she was, then I had an inkling that it might be a certain English teacher. Her presence was there as the reader and her gentle encouragement was woven through the journal

This writer I encountered was trying all kinds of things to get that key to open the door to the land of writing. It was like trying all different sizes and being the wrong size to get the key. And then transform again to get the key and the door in the same size match.

I wrote some things about people I knew. I made up some things too based on prompts, like a few paragraphs told from the point of view of a 38 year old father on the day of his birthday. The journal was a search, a frustrating, exciting, sometimes magical, erneast and sometimes desperate search for what writing is and most perplexing: WHAT TO WRITE/WRITE ABOUT.

I even wrote a sort of ode to writing itself in that journal. What do I write about? Do I write about the things I know and are familiar with and see them from a writer’s point of view? Do I make up things about stuff that I’ve never experienced and see where it leads? Do I take a prompt and try to get me pushed off? What is so important about my experience that anyone else would be interested in reading it? What is the secret key to the garden of writing well? Even if you are your first and/or only reader, what do you want your reader to be reading?

On to college, 4 years of wrestling with the same thing, along with, which things I write are in pursuit of writing and becoming a better writer? Again, who am I now as a writer?  I still write poems, which seem easier but much harder to like or find good enough. Somehow poetry was easier because it was shorter. I could hardly read any long poems even though I was assigned them. With reading, I could read long things and feel dumped and disappointed when they ended. With writing like in high school, I could take off and do the first moments of getting up in the sky, some turbulence and then to the point of taking off the seat belt sign.

That is where I will end this post. I hope to investigate further my quest to be a writer or at least someone who writes things that can be read. Words have always been my friends. Topics and content still enemies.


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