I’ve been writing since my aunt died (a year and a bit ago). I always liked the idea of writing though. In the fourth grade, I placed first in a school poetry competition- the theme was “Remembrance Day”. I think that’s the only thing I’ve ever truly won. In the ninth grade, I wrote my first short story. It was for my english class, and it sucked, but my ego temporarily inflated when I saw that my teachers’ comments where: “You are going to be a writer.” For a while, I romanticized the idea of writing in my head, and then other occupations took over my psyche: I would become an artist, or a flight attendant, or an activist. The last thing on my mind was writing, and I started to not care what people thought of my future; I believed that only I could see my own potential. Then my aunt died. And for some predictable reason my grief drove through me internally; I became depressed and anxious, emotions not unfamiliar to me. Then I started to write. I wrote shitty poems and sometimes prose. I wrote until I learned to step outside of myself and truly see my writing, and critique it. I did get better. My writing was heightened by certain new connections that made me vulnerable in my state of grief. And then poems about emptiness and craziness turned into prose about unrequited love and other new states of being. I learned to write my secrets into poems that maybe made them a little more appealing and pretty. I like that I learned to do this; it made me less fearful of myself. After under a year of writing shitty poems, good poems, and poems that helped me heal, I randomly decided to take a chance and submit my writing to a competitive program at my university. If my writing was accepted, I would be enrolled into a creative writing workshop. I sort of forgot about it, until I learned that I had been accepted. And so as of late, I have been having more conversations about writing.
I have only had one actual workshop class, as school only started this week, but today I met with my professor (“Larry”) as all of us are required to do, and we had an ‘interview’. Basically we just talked one on one, getting to know each other. He gave me a lot of good advice. And maybe some bad advice, I don’t really know. He kept talking about how he wanted to build my ego up, but I fear my own ego, and I’ve only ever known it small, so maybe I won’t take all of his words to heart. But in half an hour, he taught me a lot.
Lately, I’ve been concerned about my future (women’s studies majors who want to be writers, don’t exactly have a written career path). Larry makes publishing a novel seem like an attainable goal (again, I’m not sure if this is a blessing or a curse). As well, I’ve always written off classical myths and old stories as being ‘old’ and ‘stupid’ (and I truly think they are), but after our meeting, I’ve gained new perspective on how I can use my feminist background to destroy those old “classical” stories and writings that I hate. So in a way, they can be valuable ;). When I was trying to explain to my professor why I hate certain pieces of history and literature (why I write and bask in the contemporary) he told me this:
“Never apologize, never stop to explain yourself, just keep doing what your doing and let them howl.”
and I think I’m going to do just that. From now on, I’ve decided that I won’t waste my time on explanations and “sorries”. I am just going to write what I want, completely uncensored. He said that he turned down one other woman with the same last name as me. And in our first workshop class he said that I must have destroyed her, and that one should destroy at least six people in their lifetime (hilarious, right?). I don’t mean to be destructive, but for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m going somewhere; I don’t feel stagnant. I feel purposeful. I won’t apologize for my weirdness and for the reasons I write, and I won’t offer explanations to anyone who asks for one. I am going to just keep doing what I’m doing, and I’m not going to look behind me when someone stops to question it.
*this is in regards to my creative writing, not my academic writing or any of the writing on this blog (which I don’t really consider creative)