I have known I wanted to be a writer since I learned that it was a possibility. I composed my first poem at age 2 (according to my mother). In 1st grade I wanted to be a ballerina and a writer, in 3rd grade a paleontologist and a writer, in 7th grade an environmental scientist and a writer, by high school a writer.
Since I was able to put pencil to paper I wrote stories and poems. I wrote stories for my friends and they actually liked them. I read everything I could get my hands on – fuel for my imagination. It wasn’t just the stories in my head that pushed me or the thought of other people reading my work or even the idea of being a writer. It was just this feeling; a feeling I can’t describe. From time to time, I just had to write. I had to. It welled up inside me and pushed it’s way out and pulled me to sit down and make something happen.
I had encouragement. In 4th grade I won a poetry contest and got to ride on a float in my town’s Christmas parade. My senior year of high school I won an essay contest and went on a trip to South Korea. I got into a great university and went into the writing program and got good grades. I made it through the cruel world of four years of writing workshops. I put together a chapbook of poems. I won a fiction award. I graduated with honors.
And then something happened. I went out into the real world. I still felt the pull and would sit at the computer, late at night when the husband (then boyfriend) was sleeping. I would listen to music and drink wine and let the words pour out of me into reality. But it was harder. The ideas got stuck somewhere. I was tired and didn’t finish my stories. It seemed, somehow, too difficult.; felt sometimes like wading through glue.
I had this idea that once I had kids, if I stayed at home, I would get to write. The ideas would come back. But instead I was more tired, and more busy, and the ideas seemed to disappear entirely. I haven’t felt the pull in awhile. I wonder if it will come back, or if I should even look for it. Or should I let it fade away, not to bother me anymore, to let me be free of the longing and the needing and the never quite getting it together?
So many of my stories are lost, written in notebooks that disappeared with the house I grew up in, saved on some server at college and never retrieved, on old computers we junked or put into drawers. Without that feeling coming through me, I feel it might be easier to let it go, allow it to become part of the past, a dream I once had. I could let go of the conflict within me between work that is paid for or putting my heart into something that may never make me money. But I’m not sure that that would be easy at all.