Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Personal Legends


Am I a writer? If you had observed me for the past month, you would no more call me a writer than you would call me a runner. I haven't climbed out of bed early in the morning and sat before the computer, my fingers scrambling along the keys as the ideas pour out. I haven't turned off the college football bowl games to find a quiet corner where I can write. I haven't packed up my computer and slid along the wooden bench at Caribou Coffee, sipping from a macchiato. For the past month, maybe the past four months, someone tracking me would not have much evidence that I am a writer. The day after I turned in grades this quarter, I woke up and went for a run. A huge, 15-hour load lifted from my shoulders. But I didn't return to my new novel.
"I told you not to burn the house down," my 16-year-old daughter said when I left the story on the computer one day. Maybe she's right. Maybe my story has taken a turn that leaves me stymied, or maybe I've been led astray from what I thought was my purpose in life.
So, now, as I face 2009, what am I going to do about it? I've wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. I think it was around second or third grade that I would get up, before anyone else in the house was awake. I would pack a peanut butter sandwich and gather a spiral notebook and pencil. Then I would roam the neighborhood looking for adventures to write about. I would end up back in my front yard, under a big maple tree where I would scribble furiously, not just the things that I had seen, but the things that I imagined.
I have boxes full of old notebooks that are scratched with my childhood musings. What will I do about that as an adult? I have two novels written and a third one in the works.
I am a writer, and that doesn't mean that it flows spontaneously. It may mean that I have to set a schedule and follow it until once again, my passion for writing, my need for it is stronger than my malaise. I know I can.
I am a writer.

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