Sometimes, you take for granted what you like to do and at what you’re skilled.
I began writing in first grade. My teacher, Ms. Pamela Hendrix, had each student write in a notebook every morning for a few minutes. Typically, we wrote short stories, and we were free to write whatever we wanted. I know I always wrote stories and even drew pictures to go along with them. We called this our “journal.”
While I enjoyed that, a few times we were given a picture or an object about which to write, and I enjoyed that much less. I remember once I had the misfortune of inheriting a picture of the White House- I didn’t realize it was the White House, but I did mention in my writing that it looked very much like it.
Whatever Ms. Pam did with the journaling experience then, she created a virtual monster inside of me from the age of 6.
When I was in about third grade, I obtained a diary from a local gift shop. It was a Hello Kitty diary, and I remembered the Hello Kitty cartoon from when I was really little, so it was a sign of comfort to me.
That also created a chain reaction.
Looking at my Hello Kitty diary now, it’s not nearly as girly as I imagined it when I was a child. The diary is downright ugly.
Over the course of the years, I obtained several diaries and journals and kept them. I had a bad habit for a long time of not finishing one diary before starting another. The original Hello Kitty diary remains an incomplete work today and has entries in it spanning over the course of a decade. I wouldn’t be able to remember and list every diary that I ever owned here.
When my family first got the internet, I wanted to make a website. My brother later told me that there was such a thing as a blog, which was basically an online diary. I figured I didn’t need a full-blown website- there was no practical use for it, though I had made a few in my day. Rather, I would need a blog.
For a long time, I watched a show on HBO called Sex and the City. The show was about four women living in New York City and their romantic encounters. The main character, Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, wrote a weekly column entitled “Sex and the City,” detailing the adventure of the four women. Specifically, her column was read aloud to the viewer as the narration over the course of the show.
This inspired me to finally start writing a blog, though my life wasn’t exactly something I would consider blog-worthy- but despite how boring life can sometimes be, you would be surprised to know how humorous and brilliant it can seem to others.
I found a refuge in my blog. I found an absolute refuge, a place where I could always go and would always be heard. Sometimes, the real problem was that the thoughts and feelings inside of me were simply too excessive for me to bear alone, and venting to my blog relieved the pressure.
As a side note, I just want to congratulate myself and everyone else who reads my blog on surviving adolescence. The fact that any human being makes it past age 21 is a sheer miracle of God. Being a teenager was one of the worst things that ever happened to me.
Also, if you have any pre-teens around, WARN THEM ABOUT BEING A TEENAGER!
Given, the 20s aren’t so great so far, either, but I’ve been told that 30s and beyond are a lot better and come easier. It was a relief once to know from the mouth of a woman in her 40s that once you make it to your 40s, you’re happy- you stop caring about what other people think of you, you’re mellowed out, you’re established, and things just come to you more easily.
Back on track. I journeyed over to MySpace and blogged there for years and years. My blogs were far more unfocused and varied than what I post here.
During all this time, I also wrote short stories and even eventually wrote a novel, then had to write my novel over, and am now working on the second novel in addition a third one. Novels and creative writing in general require a lot more focus than writing a blog, at least for me. Here, right now, I’m simply writing out my thoughts and feelings. In a novel, you have to a tell a story.
Also, there are many of my short stories I’ve written that I would never dare show to the general public, because they’re too graphically violent or disturbing for the average person to handle.
The novels, though- I want to get those published.
Back on track- I must also remark that I’m an avid reader. I read every single day that comes along, whether fiction or non-fiction. I can’t imagine going through life without the ability to read.
I noticed early on that I had the ability to write in the style of the author I was reading at any given time, a certain kind of unconscious flow that could be replicated. Perhaps that’s normal- read Edgar Allen Poe long enough, and your writing will immediately reflect his.
I also read emails I wrote at age 15, and they sounded oftentimes like a pompous 19th-century British elitist. The voice in my head, his voice, often sounded when I would take it upon myself to write. That level of verbosity isn’t quite present in my blogs now, but I’m learned over the years to balance my writing. There’s nothing wrong with using long words or throwing in an unfamiliar word or two, but you cannot compensate for the lack of the beauty and flow of prose by stuffing a blog full of technical terms.
These days, my blogs are obviously oriented around a theme. I cannot bring myself to fully commit to food and only food in my blogs, because I feel that limits my artistic ability and disconnects me from the readers. I’m not some plastic, corporately manufactured writer- I’m a real, flesh and blood human being that has faults, hopes, and dreams, and is reaching through the electrical ether to touch the lives of others.
I watched the film Julie & Julia at the early part of last year. The film is based on a book, which is based on a blog, which actually details the struggles of a girl named Julie cooking through every recipe in Julia Child’s book The Joy of Cooking. That awoke in me the reality that two of my great loves, writing and cooking, could be connected online in a blog.
The problem I had immediately was that I don’t eat meat- just fish and seafood. I couldn’t replicate that idea.
But I do know about the South, and I do know about Southern food, so I can gladly blog about these things, along with my own experiments and adventures in dining.
3.21.94Just a few days ago I bought a cute bunny and I named it C.B. standing for Cute Bunny. I bought it at Cracker Barrel on the way to my grandma’s house along with Mimi, Momma, Trey, and Susanne. Grayson was going to come, but Deb didn’t want him to go along.
Susanne, Trey, and I all three bought stuffed rabbits there. Susanne named hers “C.T.” (Cute Thing), I followed suit and named mine “C.B.” (Cute Bunny), and Trey named his “Samuel Whiskers” after the cartoon rat that was showing frequently on Cartoon Network.
I don’t remember why Deborah didn’t want Grayson to go, but he was probably only 4 at the time.
Anyway, I thought sharing a bit of all this would be suitable to give insight into my own historic relationship with writing.