Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Writer In Me

In my mind, I've always been a writer. I can't remember a time when I wasn't jotting down poems or story ideas on scraps of paper, napkins, or whatever suitable item that presented itself at the moment. Below, I have provided one of my most memorable pieces. Written as an ode to my mother on Mother's Day:

A foggy cloud / A mistful kite /Aren't compared to you: / A light looking sight.

A crying tear / A drop of fear / When I don't have those things / I know you are near.

The day has begun / The sky has turned blue / Through all of those things / Nothing is compared to you.

I'm still not exactly sure what "a mistful kite" is, or how it performs in comparison to a non-mistful kite, but in the romantic musings of an eleven year old, this was poetry at its finest. Since these days, I have had to come to terms with a few things: There is no such thing as a drop of fear, or a crying tear, and the term "mistful" has never and will never grace the pages of Webster's Dictionary. So much for poetry.

Being a little bit awkward and much too shy, kept me from reaching any potential I had during my youth of doing anything great. But my senior year in high school, I was thrown into Honors English due to my inexplicable understanding of Shakespeare's plays the previous year. Thinking back, maybe it wasn't my genius that catapulted me into the class where I'd eventually rub shoulders with the best minds of my graduating class, but my teachers way of paying homage to the one student who actually stayed awake through her readings of Macbeth's and Hamlet's soliloquies. Academics weren't always so easy for me. Gym was the worst. They actually expected me to participate in something that didn't have a single thing to do with books. Needless to say, lying in between the bleachers alternating between reading, writing, and sleeping while my classmates physically exerted themselves was my surefire way of earning an F in the easiest subject on the planet.

Like my blogmates, college gave me little opportunity to do much creative writing, especially since my school had no creative writing courses. But in my final year, I did obtain the opportunity to do something creative in a gothic literature course in which I wrote and directed a play "Dorian Gray the Musical." In this same class, I also wrote a 40 page gothic parody featuring an asexual nun/monk, appropriately titled "The Nunk," which went well over my Professor's 10 page requirement. During that last year, another Professor, who thought I had potential for something (I'm still not sure what), forced me into the University's Honors Program. To my eternal shame, the one class that prevented me from graduating from college with high honors and a perfect GPA, as opposed to just plain old graduating with honors was the "B" I received in Major Black Authors. Just for the record, I really am ashamed of this.

I went on to grad school, and then took a break, because I felt it was time for me to start writing books, and stop writing 20 page term papers. By then, I had already been writing for children for several years being re-introduced since childhood to children's literature through the birth of my first son, and my husband's insane addiction to The Children's Book of the Month Club. My first manuscript "No Homework No Trash No bath," will probably never grace the shelves of any library or bookstore, but it was a great introduction into an exciting new world for me. I love writing about boogers, and singing ducks, and bringing my MG and YA characters to life; I love laughing out loud when I'm writing my characters. I love being inside their heads and transforming into them. Lately, I've been a precocious eleven year old boy in "Camp Lagoon" and an annoying fly in "If This Fly Could Talk" When I'm writing my stories, I feel like: if I don't laugh out loud when I'm writing this, no one will ever laugh while reading it; and if I don't write characters that I love, no one will ever fall in love with them.

I wish I could say that writing has always been this enjoyable for me. Though I have always loved to write, there are times when I've used writing as a coping mechanism; my link to sanity when all other things in my world have been turned upside down. Writing poetry (albeit bad poetry) helped me deal with the death of my father at 11 years old. Writing also helped me keep my sanity when a senseless act of gang violence took the life of my younger brother when he was only 18 years old. That was 12 years ago. One day, when I find the courage, I'd like to tell my brother's story. Although it may be painful, I have a feeling that it may turn into the most personal and liberating thing I will ever write.


  1. Wow - you have got a lifetime of material!

  2. "Be warned in time, James, and remain, as I do, incomprehensible; to be great is to be misunderstood." PLEASE tell me this somehow got a line in your DG Musical! You have some interesting works in your history and I am intrigued by your new fly story. and of course your vampires and angels that you neglected to mention...

  3. Oh, yeah, and I shall endeavor to work the word "mistful" into casual conversation...

  4. I have been secretly working on the angels and vampires manuscript, but I'm afraid to get reprimanded for not working hard enough on Camp Lagoon. I think I will have to move fast because I'm starting to see angels appear in YA.
    Actually I'm trying to finish the fly story for the next meeting.
    And sadly, as great of a line as that was, I did not work that line into the musical.

  5. How is it that we learn more about each through a public blog than while sitting right across from each other? Great entry.

  6. I second JB I've learned so much about everyone this week and some about myself too. Funny and poignant entry, Urania.