Thursday, June 19, 2008

What Came Out Today.

To be a writer is to be fickle and tempestuous by nature. For example, I can never decide how I like to write -- is it better, more natural for me to write in a lighthearted style? Go for a laugh from my readers? That's generally what comes out on a first draft, and I will love it...until I read it 57 times. At that point, I hate my writing; I can see nothing but silly cliches and cheap jokes, and I feel like it sounds like I'm trying too hard.

So I mix it up. I love deep, artistic writing, full of metaphors that are so deliciously unusual and innovative that I get goosebumps. There is something about that rich yet sparse, deep yet tangible, beautiful, raw writing that I want for myself. I have had classmates who vomited this sort of work onto their pages instinctively; Kevin and Nora [among others] were so despicably good at this that I tried to mimic their art like a six-year-old with fingerpaint. The results were clumsy, choppy, but workable. I molded those pieces like clay, whispered sweet nothings onto my glowing computer screen, begged them to become something that I could be proud of. Sometimes they were stubborn, but other times they yielded to my coaxing, and finally I would have a piece, a narrative, a story, that I felt was just hollow enough, just dark enough to be considered good. I would love this piece too....until I heard another student's funny piece. Suddenly, the work that I agonized over, obsessed about, seemed pretentious, heavy, and ridiculous. Ruing the very day that I accepted the fact that I was a writer, I open a new Word document, intent on making something beautiful.

That's just it though -- I am a writer. I can't help it! I can be anywhere, doing anything, and I will get the urge to write. I scribble the phrases and descriptions that pop into my head while I am driving onto the back of receipts while I am am stopped at red lights. During the day I sit at my desk in this office, this building that bustles with inefficiency, and when my blog is up or a Word document is open, I am in my own little world. The phone startles me, tenants take me by surprise, and time seems to stand still. I get energy and passion from writing. This is what God created me to do.

Someone recently asked me how I knew that I wanted to be a writer, how I knew that this is what I wanted for my life. I can't explain it, really. It's like being in love...I've never been in love, but from what I am told from a plethora of extremely different people, you just know when you are truly, madly, deeply, and passionately in love with someone. I used to try to fit a different mold when it came to my occupational dreams: I was going to be an engineer. Women in engineering are needed, I was told. You will win scholarships, choice jobs, and meet so many men in college, I was told. Besides, I went to KAMSC -- my choices were limited to engineering, science, or medicine. Law, perhaps, would be acceptable as well. Or computer programming. But those were the only viable options for a fulfilling and lucrative career.

God had a different plan. I took the math classes, I went to the engineering camp, I interviewed the professionals, and I could not get excited about it. My British Literature class at Gull Lake, on the other hand, was a different story. In the blink of an eye, I found my passion again, and over the course of that junior year, I found my calling as well. My favorite part of the story is that I was writing all along, I just didn't realize it. Journals, letters, stories... I have been writing my entire life. My mom pointed that out to me once. "I knew you were never going to be an engineer," she said. "You've been reading and writing since you were five."

So this eternal frustration? This nagging feeling that my writing is sub-par? The deep respect/envy for the work of my peers? The very real and very terrifying reality of writer's block? It's all in a day's work. And in the end, it's all going to be worth it.

1 comment:

Betsy said...

Very enjoyable. "Fickle and tempestuous" sounds about right ;D