I am a writer. To tell you the truth, it took some serious faith building and encouragement from my awesome blog readers, (Thanks for the emails and direct messages of encouragement you guys!) Not feeling I had the honor to claim the title, I purposely wrote I was “passionate about writing” until Michael Chatman called me out on twitter and convinced me to rethink my bio description. So, I will call myself a writer because well, I write. I’m not a journalist, although I do faithfully journal (I’m just kidding around true journalists). I may not have the most elaborate vocabulary, and I was never a spelling bee champion. I was clearly not an English major and my knowledge and comprehension of grammar seriously needs Jesus. But, for as long as I can remember, I’ve always found an outlet with pen to paper.
When I was about 9 years old, I wrote my first story. It was a work of fiction, but I wrote out what I truly felt was wrong about my environment and the people in it. It was everything I wanted to say, but was too afraid to say. The writing was extremely amateur, even for a 9 year old, (Camden education for you) but I sat down and made the commitment to write it, when no one else would. Besides falling in love with most of required reading from schoolwork, my grandmother introduced me to the poetry of Maya Angelou and Nikki Giovani needless to say, I became hooked. I began experimenting with poetry and used it as my outlet to express my anger, depression, fears and insecurities. When the “love bug” bit me I wrote poetry about my current crushes and would give them to my friends to give to their crushes (because of course I would never let someone know I liked them). By the time I graduated college, I had written about 4 full books of poetry, a handful of song lyrics, several novel attempts, and a short story/ play. My teacher actually kept my short story that I turned into a play for the class assignment; if you all see a story circulating around called “Street Beats” a story of a day in the life of urban youth with a Moesha feel to it, let me know.
I never thought to call myself a writer because I assumed it meant having something published in a book, which I don’t (came pretty close to it though, just didn’t follow the directions). I also didn’t want to call myself a writer because I didn’t feel a special love for writing. I started writing because I felt compelled to. It was more like a hypnotizing lure, a calling you could say. I saw no other venue to express myself without getting shot down or rejected by the people whose approval I desired, especially when I was surrounded by the walking dead. Poverty, crime, sex, drugs, death, murder fatherless homes, rape, destruction; that’s what I grew up around. My family tried their best protect me, which in turn made me out of touch and awkward with my peers (perfect target for getting picked on) so, I read a lot and I wrote.
I stopped writing due to various issues including my ultimate foe, the comparison game. But when I began to explore my passions, I realized that I wanted to write again. I wanted to write poetry, songs, short stories, and maybe even finish one of these novels “just ‘cause”. When I showed some of my old work to my former coworkers, they thought it was pretty decent (good enough for me) and it was just the bit of encouragement I needed to ignite an old flame.
What about you fellow bloggers, fellow writers? When did your love affair with writing begin?