Wednesday April 11, 2018 ~ The Letter J
This month, I write about being a writer, alphabetically.
I’ve written nonfiction, short stories, and poetry. My media has included everything from keyboard to fountain pen to crayon. And yes, I’m working on a novel.
Please join me each day as I explore this craft and career of playing with words as I participate in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2018.
The Letter J
What do you say when people ask you why you write?
My response varies:
- I’m just in it for the money (if you ask me if I’ve met J.K. Rowling or Stephen King)
- Because all the other kids are doing it(that one’s for mom)
- I feel an obligation to inform (well, never actually)
- So many stories are trying to beat their way out of my brain (fellow authors get this)
- Compulsion, obsession, passion, neurosis (sometimes they expect this one)
I write because it brings me joy.
I’ve always found joy in creating pictures and scenes and situations and stories with mere words. I used to say “ever since I could hold a crayon”, but that sounds trite and I’d get funny looks. Still, it’s true.
I’m the firstborn in a family with six (eight, but that’s another story) children. I often kept my brother and sisters out of mom’s hair with stories. Stories that always included each of them, in one form or another. I’d get the words on paper, then hand them the crayons, with instructions to illustrate their favorite parts. Thus getting them out of my hair as well. Then I’d go read a book until it got too loud, or worse, too quiet, in there. Forced to abandon my book, I’d huff over, we’d sit in a circle on the floor, cross-legged. And I’d come up with another story.
Maybe I wasn’t feeling the joy back then, but as I grew older, I found escape from angst by putting it down in words. Those stories often had unfortunate endings for whoever was causing me pain that particular day.
Then I found myself writing research papers and textbooks and training manuals. Normal people will not be able to understand how much I enjoyed that kind of work. Taking a bunch of confusing stuff and then getting it down so that it was understandable – what a sense of accomplishment! I’ve always loved to teach – the light that shines in a pair of eyes when that one hard thing suddenly makes sense. And I think that’s why I found joy in technical writing and nonfiction work.
I’ll admit to some warm fuzzies that came with recognition and renumeration.
Stories never stopped rattling around in my head. They just became more insistent when I allowed myself the time to pay attention; they now demand to see the light of day. And when the words that flow cause others to see the same pictures and emotions and events that were before limited to my cranium, that brings me joy.
The bigger challenge these days is to make certain that the discipline of writing regularly doesn’t squish or bury or flatten my joy. So far, so good.
Perhaps my answer from now on should be persistent joy.
Tomorrow, the letter K …