Memories that don’t include the desire to write down a story elude me. The earliest that I can pinpoint exactly what I wrote is when I nine. There are two choices between desks; an olive green or a drab yellow. Neither inspire creativity or ingenuity. Even so when we trade desks every other month I still race to sit at the green. I’ve never been a fan of yellow.
A prairie story went to the competition that year. The title is forgotten, the characters a mass of muddy water, but the pig–I remember the pig. Her name was Maurecia. In sixth grade I wrote a six page poem based off the computer game “Heroes of Might and Magic” which my dad, brother, and I played with abandon. That was a poem of which I was extremely proud and my teacher actually lauded me with a much coveted, “Well done.”
That same year I wrote about washing dishes. It’s also the first time I found my ‘voice’. This voice would elude me for years as I tried to mold my writing to please others, say what they wanted me to say, get the good grade. That day, though when instead if documenting a point by point how-to essay on washing dishes I crafted a sarcastic satirical jab back at the inanity of sticking one’s hands in dirty water swirling with bits of food, I found my voice. I found a piece of me that no one could take away.
As time progressed my writing hid itself in journals and pads of paper impressed with ink of multiple colors and textures. As my writing became more conversational, revolving around my schoolwork, my aspirations, my crushes, I wrote out all that “stuff” and unknowingly improved my ability to write for longer periods of time as well as word counts. If you were to read those journals you would probably see teenage angst and nothing worth publishing, but I look at the and see practice. Practice. Practice.
His name was Nick Jones and he asked us to call him Nick. None of this professor jones nonsense with him. The house of sand and fog was required reading. I waded my rear end through it and dragged my feet as far behind me as humanly possible. What better way to show my disdain for this book than to hit it with a dose of Kristina’s in appropriately sarcastic writing. I know, right? How could I go wrong? The paper written I finished it and turned it in resigned to the fact that I would indeed be happy just to pass.
This was back when term papers literally meant “paper”; tangible, fibrous cellulose marked up with ink. I received my paper back and there were the words I will take with me to my grave because they changed my life. “You have talent. You need to hone this. Take some writing classes.”
It was the first time someone believed in my writing and valued my words enough to encourage me to spend time improving them. I didn’t take his advice until later, but he is still the person who first encouraged me to unearth the buried artist inside of me and unleash her arsenal of words.
Who has influenced your writing or encouraged you to write more??