In anticipation of ending the school year teaching 6-12 graders how to write more effectively (I hope), and starting a new series of creative writing workshops around town, I thought I’d share why it is I do what I do. My first love was reading. Getting taken away, becoming friends and confidants with characters. As an adolescent, books were a salve for the isolation I felt, a shield against the cruelties of preteens, half-formed beings who hurt and wanted others to hurt with them.
I was a lonely teen. I wrote a lot of bad poetry about it. (No, I will not show you these poems.) I grew up and kept writing in fits and bursts, traveling and teaching and going back to school to try the writing thing again. In Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott she says that “good writing is about telling the truth.” I agree with that, but also, writing is about connections.
I have always felt disconnected: disconnected from those around me, the world, myself. I can’t say exactly why, but I’ve always felt like something was missing. When I read, and when I write and talk to people about reading and writing, that feeling goes away. I get excited to hear other people’s stories, and to tell them my own, and then, all of a sudden, there’s a calm.
So I guess I write to connect through telling the truth. What about you?
Oh, and if you want to join me on the first writing journey, there are still a few spots in my novel writing workshop!