Sunday, October 17, 2004

Question of the Day

So, I thought an interesting topic of conversation might be, when did you realize you wanted to become a writer?

I guess it's arguable that I knew all along, since I used to sit down before I could actually write and just scribble gibberish in "cursive" for hours on end. I think my grandfather used to joke that I had some kind of alien intelligence, haha. I think he liked to believe that it meant something, somewhere.

My very first story in a recognizable if primitive form of a real language, which I wrote and illustrated, was, "Little Pink Pig." Boy, was it lame. The pig basically got dirty and was brown at the end from mud. However, I guess for a 5-year-old or however old I was, it was okay.

When I was in the fourth grade, a teacher asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, and when I said a writer, she told me that I had talent but that I'd better be prepared for a tough life. In college, as an English major, I bore more than my fair share of the semi-derisive question, "What are you going to do with that line of study? Be a teacher?" (Man, how the world has changed since 1988 or so!)

I had a few other interesting phases as a grade-school kid, like thinking I wanted to be an archeologist or a parapsychologist (no, not joking on that last one), but finally, I realized that writing was not only something that I loved to do but something I had at least some degree of talent for. I'm not entirely sure I could have done anything other than work with language.

So anyway, I welcome anecdotes, ephiphanies, or recollections.

Thanks for reading,



Blogger Maktaaq said...

Uh oh, there's going to be lots for me to say on this fact, it might end up as a post on my own blog. First let's see if Blogger will accept this comment - there've been problems with Blogger. Probably all the teen angst kids uploading their faux suicide notes?

10:33 AM  
Blogger Hebdomeros said...

I have two. I'll try to keep them short.

In the 4th grade my teacher went up to the black board and wrote the sentence "I woke up in a cold sweat, realizing it had all been a bad dream." We had to write a story that closed with that sentence. Mine was about a little boy named Joey running from werewolves. Lame, I know. But it was the first time I really had fun writing. My dad, for some reason, still has it tucked away in his desk and would always bring it out when I brought girlfriends around.

In the ninth grade I was real quiet. Frighteningly quiet. I sat in class, took my notes and tried to stay invisible. In my world history class in particular. One day towards the end of the term a couple of the kids were mocking me for not talking all term. My teacher, who walked around class with an axe handle as a pointer, stood up for me and said to leave me alone. Although I was quiet he dubbed me the best writer he'd seen in a few years. That was the first time I really considered writing as a focus for my life.

4:12 PM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Maktaaq, I look forward to your stories! I'll definitely come visit your blog and see if you've shared yours! I like your funny comment though -- Blogger as a bastion of angst-ridden teens, ha. I hate it when Blogger gets all wonky -- it does it a lot and I think you're right, it's them with their faux suicide notes!

Hebdomeros, those are great stories. I don't know, I think that the werewolf story is quite impressive for 4th grade. I don't think I was producing anything that fun and exciting back then! As for your teacher with the ax handle pointer -- yeah, when you think back, it's really the teachers who are the mentors for those formative years. If I hadn't gotten encouragement from some teachers, I might never have quite realized it was something I should be doing, come to think of it.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Maktaaq said...

It's done and I am an hour late for bedtime. :)

2:05 AM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Oh, I hate that. I always seem to be an hour late for bedtime!

Can't wait to read it!

8:39 AM  
Blogger Maktaaq said...

Once again I am an hour late for bed. :)

1:24 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Hmm, I can't remember when I knew I wanted to be a writer. Ever since I learned to write I've written little stories. I always wondered whether writing was the product of a creative imagination or dissatisfaction with one's life. When I am more satisified with life I tend to write less; conversely, when I am dissatisfied with my life I take refuge in my fictional worlds. So maybe it's a form of control, too. All I know is that I cannot stop it, and in the periods that it wanes I am terribly frustrated, as if something amorphous, ugly, is building in me, ready to to explode into something beautiful if I can only find a way to free it.

Does anyone think they could be a hack writer, or does it compromise the beauty of the words in you? I've always wondered whether I could shoot out a couple of silhouettes or something for money or whether the muse would recoil and punish at the mere thought of abusing her gift.

8:35 AM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...


I definitely hear you. I have the same thing -- sometimes when I'm content I generally don't have as much to say, writing-wise. It's weird how that works... writing can help dispel some of the demons within.

As for hack writing, I don't know. On the one hand, I think it should be easy to do. But on the other hand, I've always had a hard time trying to write according to formula. I think it might be harder than it seems. Like for those cheesy romances... to write with really no regard to insight or artistry. I don't know if I could do it. Though I do know that traditionally, writing that stuff pays cold hard cash.

9:14 AM  

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