Tuesday, March 22, 2005

On Writing

I love writing and I've always wanted to be a writer. A fiction writer. I've always felt like I could do it for real, as a career - once I got started. Getting started was the hard part.

I wrote my first stories before I could write. I told the stories to my mom, who wrote them down, and I illustrated them with pictures cut from the J.C. Penney and Sears & Roebuck catalogs.

When I was 7, I wrote and illustrated my first story all on my own. It was a read along book about a little girl who loved reading more than anything else in the world. After her birthday party, she found a small unopened package. It turned out to contain a magic lotion! (Those who know me well will laugh that my lotion obsession was evident even at that age.) The magic lotion allowed the girl to float in the air! How did the girl use such a precious gift? She applied the lotion in her bedroom, floated up to the ceiling, and reclined to spend the rest of the afternoon reading in midair. I taped myself reading the story, and still have the tape although I think I've lost the book. On it, you can hear my pedantic/precocious voice saying, "You may now turn the page" after every 6 words or so.

In college, I took a couple of fiction writing classes. I wrote a lot in college and felt good about what I was writing. Finishing was my big problem then and afterwards.

More recently, I decided to get serious about it and do some real fiction writing. Lately I've been having a little crisis of faith. I don't think that what I've been writing is very good. And that's really what I was afraid of all along, that's why it was so hard to get started. What if I can't do it? What if I'm really really bad? Who am I if I'm not the girl who will, someday, be a writer?