Writing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I had a white ‘My Diary’ journal in sixth through eighth grade. It had a tiny key so I could lock up my secrets safely from prying eyes. I’m positive I wrote about daily occurrences and boys I liked or who said what about something or other. I wish I could remember what happened to ‘My Diary’. Maybe it made it to a landfill somewhere, fully intact, secrets safely hidden. Maybe I dramatically ripped out each page and tore it into a million pieces to protect my thoughts… I don’t recall its demise.
Once, I came across some writings from high school where I had copied the words from songs. During one particular romance, it was that song by the Turtles: “Imagine me and you…I do. I think about you day and night, it’s only right…. So happy together!” The name of the boy is nowhere on the pages, and quite possibly he didn’t even make it to the end of the song, but I had pages of songs written out. I must have listened to my albums playing over and over to get the words, because there was certainly no google lyrics to look up.
In my early twenties, my then husband and I tragically experienced the stillbirth of our first daughter together. The months afterward were dark for me, and I have since found the poems I wrote during that time. The poetry of my grief was written in sprawling handwriting on sheets of stationary and somehow, I preserved them, guarding my grief like the protective mother I wanted to be. I still feel the sadness written onto those pages. It rises from each word like heat off a summer sidewalk.
I saved the hysterical letters I later got from my girls when they were at summer camp. I’m sure my letters to them were discarded long ago, but theirs are short and confessional.
Dear Mom, I’ve worn the sme cloths evryday, but they made us take showers and eat cantelope. Send stamps! Luv, Courtney
Sittin’ Ugly Sistahs, the antics of life that Ginger and I share with you, as well as the birth of my memoir, I Thought It Was You are recent projects that fill me with joy and at times, angst. I feel as though to write is to live. To breathe is to write. Words scrawl across my mind like an old-fashioned typewriter clicking away. The one thing that remains the same is my fear at being vulnerable and, in contrast, the exhilaration of facing my fear.
I’ve learned an awful lot about myself since beginning this writer’s path. I’ve seen boldness and shyness live on the same page.
I’ve pushed myself to see parts of my life I long ago buried.
I’ve resurrected bravery.
I’ve accepted that not everyone wants to read what I have written, and I’m learning not to take that personally because I have to write. It’s part of who I am. And whether trolls on the internet agree with me or not, I am a writer.
Whether an agent takes my book or not, I am a writer.
Whether my husband, children or grandchildren ever read a word I’ve written or not, I am a writer.
Whether somedays I don’t believe it myself, and my inner critic is screaming ‘You’re Not Good Enough!!’ I am a writer.
I am a writer with a writer’s soul.
I am a writer.
“I can shake off everything as I write, my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”