THE REALIZATION

September 9, 2007 at 5:01 pm 4 comments

WARNING: LENGTHY, SENTIMENTAL POST

Now I can say I’ve always been a writer it just took me a while to realize that’s what I was. My first piece of literature had to be in the 3rd grade. As a class assignment we had to write a story. Well, everyone else had 5 pages or less. I had 18 pages, with illustrations. Did I mention we had to read it out loud? My audience was captivated until page 10 and they started to realize the madness wasn’t going to end soon.

I remember in 5th grade I wrote a story about a girl who went to a party. She wasn’t very popular, but she had a big crush on a guy name Jeremy. If you put two and two together you’ll know the name of my first crush.

After my first heartbreak I wrote a million poems that could make a sane, healthy human being, depressed. My heart and soul bleed for months in the poems I wrote.

In high school, I wrote my essays the night before and would always get A’s or B’s unless I had to show references. Those always got F’s. I couldn’t bullshit my way out research papers.

When ever I would get into arguments I’d always think of the best things I could have said afterwards. So what would I do? I’d re-write them in my head. I think about what I’d wear and how’d I look. I’d say something witty and crush the opponent. Then I’d run off and meet a great guy and we’d marry and have kids. The start of my romance career.

When I was pregnant with my son I bought a typewriter. I think it cost me about 16 bucks. I still have it. But I digress. I wrote what would come to be my first chapter. Then I re-typed it a million times. Then I forgot about it until September 13, 2004. An exact month after I had my son. I was watching Oprah her season premiere. (Think back to the episode that made national headlines where she gave away cars to the whole audience.)

But it wasn’t that part of the show that inspired me. I can’t remember the girl’s name, but she was homeless. Her dream was to go to school so she could make something of herself. So she’d no longer have to sleep on the street or worry about her next meal. That’s all she wanted in life. I still get teared up every time I think about her story, because I had that. I was going to school and not making something of myself, because it wasn’t making me happy. I was a single mother of two and content at how my life was going. Or at least that’s the lie I told myself.

Anyway, Oprah gave her a scholarship for the school of her choosing. An apartment and she was to grace the cover of a fashion magazine. I cried like a baby. It could have been my hormones out of whack. Or come on, it’s Oprah. Everyone cries watching Oprah. But at the end of the show I looked at my typewriter and thought of all the years I said I wanted to some day write a novel.

I stared harder at my Smith and Corona and the keys beckoned me. It’s was almost like an itch in my hands. I asked myself what the hell was stopping me? All I needed was my imagination and some paper. I didn’t need Oprah to give me anything. At 4:58, when the show ended, I ripped out pages from a notebook, since at the time I didn’t have printing paper, and I shoved it in my typewriter and I started to write about a woman named Norah. (After my all time favorite author, of course.) I re-wrote that first chapter another million times and realized I wanted to finish a book not just start one.

15 months later. I was done. I went to my library and told them, “I’m going to be printing a lot.” They asked how much. “Well, three copies of a 300+ page book.” I’ve since been banned from the library after I killed their printer. I digress. The same day I shipped off my book to Harlequin, to the Library of Congress (to make sure it got copy written. I know a newbie) and I kept one for myself. I can’t describe how it felt to hold my book, my first book, something I made, something I always dreamed of doing, in my hands.

I thought about this since the anniversary is coming up. I thought about the girl who only wanted to go to school. I thought about how much writing still feels so right to me everyday and I know I made the right decision. I’m following my dream. Most people are never brave enough to do that. And just by doing it I’ve made it come true. One of these days I’m going to be published, but none of that means more to me than the first day I realized I was a writer. The some day had come. It’s still here. When I start to doubt myself I close my eyes and remember that feeling, I hold it close to my chest, and I’m okay again. I never want to lose that feeling.

So the only question I have is have you followed your dream?

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Entry filed under: inspiration, writing.

FEAR OF THE BLANK PAGE 9/11

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Patricia W.  |  September 10, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    I am now, at least one of them. I’ve been in love with books my whole life. I toyed with the idea of writing for years. At 38, I finally decided if not now, when? But I still wasn’t in it full throttle. That took a few more years. Time to marinate the dream and to season it with some networking and learning. Then I went for it. I’m going for it. And someday I’ll see my name in a bookstore.

  • 2. Mel  |  September 10, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    Isn’t the moment great when it happens.

  • 3. Kate Diamond  |  September 11, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    I am pursuing my dreams right now, in fact. I’m revising my first draft as opposed to chucking it and starting something new because “it’s no good and niether am I.” I’m really trying to let go of the self-defeatist editor in my head.

  • 4. Mel  |  September 11, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    You have to give that editor an eviction notice or a high tolerance to ignoring it.

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