I used to consider myself a writer.
As a child, I tapped away at the keys on our stiff beige computer, watching the dot matrix printer spit out my words with a telltale whirl. Notebooks were filled with various themes, be it my epic novel about four girls living in an orphanage, or a series of plotlines for my detective agency tales (being creative, the two main characters of the creatively named Dudette Detective series were myself and a close friends). I have memories of showing up at a cafe, as an eleven year old, to a free seminar on publishing, to realize that I was the sore thumb in a room full of adults. The presenter couldn't even be bothered to talk down to me.
As an adolescent, I switched to the realm of melodramatic poetry, purchasing colourful lined books to fill with stanzas about darkness where there once was light. Later in high school, free association exercises led to a veritable explosion of images across the page, bottlenecked in the nib of my pen because I couldn't write nearly quickly enough. I also dabbled in journalism, taking on any public relations position available in order to detail press releases of car washes and other fundraisers, and writing for community newspapers about a youth's perspective on crime and why the Spice Girls were bad role models.
Then "adulthood" hit.
Suddenly, with a full university course load, and a variety of jobs on the side, all my hobbies gradually drained away. Papers on the role of the mass media in criminal behaviour, the symbolism in Emily Carr's writing, the political strivings of Cleopatra, the validity of graphology began to swell in my brain, quashing the creative thoughts hiding in the recesses. I moved to the big city. Research began to be the defining force in my spare time, and I slowly adapted my writing to a more concise, technical style. Then honours theses, working two jobs, applying to grad school, and Masters induced hecticness I never knew existed as I struggled to find a spare 10 minutes to watch television, let alone pick up a pen.
When back at home one holiday season, I ran into my old writing teacher. I was used to proverbial pats on the back and "way to go"'s when former teacher's heard about my current accomplishments. She instead responded with "But are you still writing?" I almost felt ashamed as a I shook my head, and spouted off some generic excuses. She nodded in apparent agreement, but her eyes were disappointed.
I don't really know why I made the initial decision to start blogging. It was partially because I'd fallen for a man by virtue of his words on my computer screen. It was also because I was told it would suit me, for I was always spouting off random notions. Perhaps it was because everything had changed, or because, over the past 6 months, I'd realized that I had spent years without genuine self-reflection. While I know I explicitly claimed to miss the act of writing, I don't know that I ever believed I would really feel like a writer again. I thought those praises of a 10 year old's words were mere reinforcement or fluke, that I'd lost that part of me a long time ago, washed up with all the other real life realities.
Yet, somehow, I almost believe it again.
It's different, now. It's tied up in an element of secrecy, one that feels freeing some days, but stifling on others. I long sometimes to send a post to someone, to display how much impact they have had, to express what I mean in better terms, to even prove that there is this clandestine, creative part of my live outside of the day-to-day. However, at other times, I like the freedom involved in having my words interpreted in their own right, rather than as part of the context of another relationship.
So I type behind closed doors, for an audience who knows me only by these words, rather than through conversations and memories.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I used to consider myself a writer.