When I was in college, I had to write a paper for my comp class called “Myself as a Writer.” Over ten years later as I teach Advanced Composition to high school juniors and seniors, I read them my paper about myself, and I require that they write the same paper about their own writing styles. The paper–though many don’t like to write it–helps them open up to me on several levels. They get to write to me, introduce themselves, and say “Hey, I’m not perfect but I’m here to get better.” I get to see just how well they write, and I even get to see how much effort they will be willing to put forth into an assignment that receives nothing more than a participation grade. Most of my students thoroughly enjoy writing, and the ones who don’t, end up taking the class because they realize they should be a better writer–especially before going off to college.
I’ve realized several things about myself as a writer over the years:
1–I write to release emotion. Mom always said that she could count on me to leave my thoughts lying around the house while growing up. I still feel guilty about my 11-year-old birthday letter. “Dear Mom and Dad, this was the worst birthday I’ve ever had.” I wouldn’t dare speak the words aloud, but I had no problem leaving them on paper. I apparently didn’t get my Crossfire game that I so desperately wanted that year. I didn’t know that they had actually bought it and were saving it for Christmas. Mom was right, I was a spoiled kid.
2–I write to be heard. I don’t have a loud speaking voice; well, not most of the time anyway. In fact, I can actually be a bit shy and have been mistaken for “stuck up” several times. But my voice is in my writing. My expression, my humor, my sarcasm–or lack of it–is found on paper. When I need to say anything important, ever, it will be on paper first. Expect a brainstorm, a rough draft, lots of scribbles, arrows, and a well-crafted final copy. It’s the only way I know how.
3–I write my best at night. I have no idea why. I’m also much more emotional at night. It must be something in my hormones because I’ve been this way my entire life. I used to write poetry when I was in middle school, every night before bed. Eventually I ran out of rhymes and got bored with myself so I started journaling. I got out of the habit during my later high school years and all through college due to so much homework writing, but I’m happier than ever to find that old habits really do die hard. I still do and love very much, writing at night. I suppose this is now my new journal–and as it happens, it’s 9:37 at night.
4–I write because it’s who I am. I don’t know what else to do. If I’m really excited about something, I thoroughly enjoy expressing my enthusiasm for anyone else who may want to share my joy. I really write well when I’m sad, though, and well–it just makes sense, doesn’t it? Sadness has created masterpieces. Stephen King sure does not come off to me as a happy-go-lucky guy! I write bold and daring speech when I’m really angry–irate–or flat out PISSED about something. In fact, one time, I think I started a blog just out of sheer pissed-off-ness. I’m not sure if pissed-off-ness is an actual word, but when I’m mad enough, it should count. I wrote some really cool poetry in a pissed off state.
5–I get to leave a piece of me behind. I might title myself “a writer,” but in reality, Shakespeare said it best when he wrote,
“All the world’s a stage.
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…”
In this world, I’m nothing more than a player on a stage and I only have a few small parts. The dog loving, wine drinking, CrossFit competing, obstacle course racing, book reading, healthy eating, and writing about all of it in the meantime, part. I’m just a small fragment of an enormous world, taking up a little bit of space and trying to leave my mark on something–anything. And I think that’s pretty damn cool if you ask me. To know that I can leave my experiences to the world ahead of me…well you just never know what kind of impact that will make on the future. The likelihood of course, is none. But there’s always hope. And writing gives me hope. Hopes, dreams….and while they may be nothing more than words on a page, there’s just something magical about the way they come together. That’s why I do it, and that’s what I’ve learned about me.
Me, as a writer. Welcome to my small little world, my few scenes on the stage, and the adventures of my journey. I hope you find something worthwhile in your time spent here with me.
Images by juliejordanscott