Writing: preserving a thought, state of mind or idea. That is what the act of writing means to me. Recently I went looking for things I have written over the years. I found a series of narratives that I had written and asked my dad to print at work, which was all well and true until half way through printing the first one he realised it was 70 pages long. I found poems and I found goals lists, all of which have preserved a moment in time. They all reveal to some extent my thoughts and emotions. Together they show quite a development from a young child to my teenage years.
Writing for me began as simple letters on a page. These letters then began to form words and eventually, a narrative. Writing stories was a hobby of mine. Before I could write I would perform plays to my family. Eventually I began to write these stories down.
As I grew older I started to read more and more. Looking back now I think the books I read influenced my childhood writing more than I had realised. During my pre-teens, whenever I tried to write my own narrative it would always end up sounding like a teen romance novel that had been written by an eight year old, which is exactly what it was.
“Mum and dad for your information I nearly died and you don’t have the common courtesy to call?
You are awful parents and I am embarrassed to be your daughter; the daughter of stupid people that won’t take care of their children.”
Ryan and I were just in a hurricane. Right now I’m in the lobby with Ryan and my boyfriend… I mean friend and I have a broken arm and a very sore ankle.”
My narratives were overly dramatic and extremely long. This one was 13,394 words and my twelve year old self was convinced it was going to get published. After writing several sequels to this, I stopped writing for a few years.
My dad wrote poetry when I was a kid. He made small booklet of his poems and it is one of my most treasured possessions. It was this book that got me to write again. After my parents’ divorce, I stumbled across dad’s book. I had forgotten about it and after reading through it, something made me want to write again. Despite the fact that I do not generally like poetry, that was where I began.
These poems were my way of dealing with being a teenager. They acted as a connection to my dad and it was because of writing that I kept my sanity. My terrible and dramatic rhymes were an insight into my early teenage self. Writing in this context and at this particular time was very personal and showed a lot of vulnerability; a side of my younger self that nobody had seen. There is a particular power in writing, in the way it pulls you through and out of certain hardships in your life. I hope that is something I always remember, that writing can help me when I need it.
In my last year of college I signed up for a creative writing course at CIT. Initially I signed up because I had planned to do a diploma at the school; I changed my mind and the course became somewhat of a tribute to my younger self. By the end of the semester I had created a short story. To this day it is probably my most favourite piece of writing.
“I’m not really sure how to start this. I guess most people start with ‘dear diary’ or ‘dear…’ who-ever they are writing to, but I can’t bring myself to write your name. It’s almost as if writing it would confirm that you are gone, that I’m never going to see you again. I’m not ready to believe that yet.”
The story still kept with the drama I loved to create in narratives as a child. This piece followed the story of a girl who suffers from mental illness after the passing of her best friend.
When I was younger I remember as soon as I would finish writing a story I would always make my mum sit through me reading the whole thing to her, even the 13,000 word story I described earlier. Since becoming a teenager I think I grew more sensitive to my writing and it became more personal, so sharing it was an uncomfortable concept for me. Writing does reveal the ‘weather’ or wear in our souls.
The way writing fits into my life has been a constant evolving idea. It began with wanting to be a writer, to writing being nothing more than words on a page, but now I think I have found how it fits into my life, at least for now anyway. A few years ago I decided I wanted to become a journalist. I think this career choice is fitting considering writing has always been an important part of my self-expression. I like the idea that my childhood passion will somehow fit into my adult life. I am a big dreamer, always have been and always will be; the thought of not giving up my childhood dream but transforming it sits more comfortably in my mind, than completely giving something up.
The way I perceive writing now is probably far different from what it would have been two years ago. As I grow into adulthood, I change. My ideas and perceptions, my looks and my thoughts, it is all an ongoing cycle of change. If somebody had asked me in high school how I felt about writing I probably would have laughed it off and been too embarrassed to say what I really thought. If someone were to ask me what writing meant to me today, my answer would be: writing is self-expression, it is a connection to others but most importantly a connection to ourselves. It is our thoughts and feelings on a page; sometimes it is utterly terrifying because all these things become all the more real once they are put into words. If you were to ask me tomorrow what I thought, my answer may be completely different. I am not sure. I am still evolving and the way writing fits into my life is evolving and always will be. And so it should.