Friday, August 24, 2007

What to do with my life . . .

I've come to the realization that I'm not going to be a writer.

I cannot see anything beyond a blank page every time I sit down to write. I have no characters or plots running through my mind, when i think of what I'm passionate about and what I know - there is literally just nothing. . .
I remember when I was little there were many nights that i couldn't fall asleep. My mind would tend to keep running around in circles and I wasn't sure how to get it to just STOP so I could sleep -- my mom would come in and rub my forehead and tell me to think about "nothing" - at which point, I would get even more upset and protest: "but mom, it's impossible to think about NOTHING!" Looking back, if she just would have told me to think about what i would want to write a book about . . . i would quickly have a blank mind, ready for sleep!

I remember the moment I stopped knowing how to write creatively - I was in 9th grade (fresh from Canada - where schools let you be creative) in Mrs. Hayes class. We were asked to write a book report, and I wrote mine from the perspective of one of the characters in the book telling a story to answer the essay question she had asked us. Mrs. Hayes gave me an A - but told me never to write an essay like that again. Instead, she taught me how to write a five paragraph essay including a tri-part thesis with three supporting paragraphs, an introduction and a conclusion. And of course, each paragraph should include quotes which carefully back up your thesis, and have beginning and ending sentences which flow out of one paragraph and into the next . . . now I can write a killer essay (I never got less than an A throughout my 8 years of school here in the U.S.) but in the process I stifled my creativity and forgot how to let my writing flow and my mind be free.

I think that's why even writing this blog has been so hard for me . . . I cant seem to sit down and just WRITE without worrying about exactly what I'm trying to say or what I need to prove . . . but I guess I'll keep trying - and keep looking for something different to do with my life! :-)

2 comments:

  1. I am angry at Mrs. Hayes. I guess she did her job as she saw it but she undid alot enriching and learning you had inside of you.
    It is still there, I hope and pray that you will find it back.
    mom
    xxxxxxxx

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  2. Reading your blog leaves the rest of us with no question of what you should do with your life. It sounds like it's always been there, albeit perhaps overshadowed by your fantastic writing ability. But it was even in your writing - the way you wrote from the perspective of one of the girls in the story, the way you look at the world.

    I'm sure you'll figure out a way to do it. But in the meantime, when I was having a 'what am I going to do with my life/abandoning my past plans' crisis, a professor (who was leaving immunology to go into full time ministry) recommended reading Parker Palmer's book "Let Your Life Speak." The book isn't magical and doesn't give you an easy answers, and isn't even written with a thesis and supporting paragraphs. But I think it gave me courage and peace to let go of my plan and embark on another.

    Love you!

    Colleen

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