Today I learned that my blog was part of the inspiration for another new blog/writing project. This is exciting! I love the idea that writing can be contagious, and that more of us are putting ourselves out there. Knowing that my peers are writing inspires me to keep going, and makes me wonder--why did I quit writing, in the first place? What turned me away from a creative outlet that fueled me for so long?
I used to write all the time. Back in grade school, high school, college, I was constantly scribbling something, somewhere, in whatever style suited me. At the tender age of seven or eight, I remember penning an entire book that was about 24 pages long. I think my mom still has it. A fantastical, hand-written script, my story chronicled the life of a princess with silver-sparkle everything, and ponies galore. I'm not sure I was as worried about giving the princess a plot as I was obsessed with imagining the details of her silver-sparkle wardrobe and stable of noble steeds, but it didn't matter--I was enthralled with my tale, and eager to share it.
Of course, the princess stage didn't last long. In the musty, spooky basement of the old Norton library, I discovered collections of Charles Schultz's Peanuts comics, from which I learned rich new vocabulary and literary devices, including the concept of sarcasm. Soon, I was in junior high, and sarcasm became both a shield and a language that I and so many other awkward kids spoke fluently. Instead of crafting stories, I penned countless notes, along with a few letters, diary entries, and even a few poems. While the notes were salty little jabs intended to crack up my friends, the poems were usually awkward little things pathetically crafted for one specific boy or another. I shoved at least one of these tender expressions of pre-teen longing into a boy's locker; I'm sure the kid didn't adequately appreciate the earnestly-penned words of an awkward, flat-chested, glasses-wearing geek-ette.
As I moved on to high school and college, I kept writing the letters, diary entries, and poems. I especially depended upon letters. I wish I had kept more of those I received; they would be so fun to read now. I remember with particular fondness the absurd origami-esque mailings that would appear from my friend Jarrod. I have no idea how these creations made it through the US Postal Service's system, since he would use whatever material caught his fancy, cover it with writing and illustrations, fold it up, stick a stamp on it, and throw it in the mail without a bit of regard for postal standards or regulations. His letters were wicked diatribes; I responded with my own devilish musings. Together, we were incorrigible, and it was great fun.
I did keep some of the letters that I wrote to myself. A few of them still give me a jolt when I read them now. I obviously journaled as a form of free therapy; my late teen and early college years were rough, and I was much lonelier than I ever realized at the time.The demons I wrestled weren't the right kind of company to keep, I guess, but maybe by writing, I kept them in check, at least a little bit.
(to be continued)