While college was winding down, I eventually took a Creative Writing 101 course to fulfill a general requirement to graduate. I hadn’t really wanted to take it, but for reasons that have forsaken me, I did. So many girls at my single sex college were aspiring writers that it was difficult to throw a stick and not hit someone working on their first novel. It had been unusual for me, since I rarely shared my interest in writing. I remember being in 8th grade, and hitting my first fifty pages in the book I was creating. Then, when I was sixteen, I had finally cracked over 150 pages for another novel I was writing.
So you would think I’d be in heaven, attending a school well known for its English/Creative Writing program (admittedly – when I was 18, I had initially applied specifically for that reason). Not exactly. The second, and last, creative writing class I took involved an incompetent graduate student “professor” and a class totaling almost twenty people. Not exactly conducive to in-depth analyses of each other’s work – or anythingrather.
But, this isn’t about me riffing on my alma mater, or my poor experiences with graduate students masquerading as English professors – this is about me never talking to other people about the fact that I love to write. My family knew I liked it, my other writer friends knew it – but I didn’t stamp it on my forehead, or wear it like a proud identity. For the longest (even now), I believed in keeping passions a secret. I didn’t mind – and often times relished! – talking to people about things that annoyed me, or criticizing various habits I witnessed around me. Conversely, I fell into the camp of lamenting my lack of skill in other areas: like math and science that fascinated, but inevitably, eluded me.
The fact that I enjoyed writing seemed mostly buried deep within me, sometimes to the point where I forgot that I even LIKED to write. I remember a hiatus I had taken from writing unintentionally, mind you, but when I had finally written a story it felt nearly orgasmic! It was like pieces of me were being unlocked, and I had connected to something deeper. A part that was me. I think about this moment a lot – this feeling that writing is such an integral part of me.
If I’m being honest – I do feel pangs of intense jealousy and over-protectiveness about writing. I turn my nose up at fan fiction, and lament aspiring creators who attend expensive graduate programs just to be told to use less adverbs. I get prickly when someone compliments someone else’s work but not mine. But then my ego explodes when someone remarks on how talented I am, basking in one of the few instances of praise I receive.
It’s difficult for me to talk about what writing means to me in person, how defensive of it I am. Little by little, though, I get to share what I love with you guys!
So tell me, what do you love (but keep to yourself)?