“Words, words, words, I’m so sick of words.” Eliza Dolittle had a lot to say about words she didn’t want to say. Because I’m a woman, I have a lot to say. Because the magic of creating pictures with words is something I do as naturally as breathing, I am a writer.
But what is real writing? Or authentic writing, as someone once described it. Is a blog real writing? Is tapping out a clever comment in a forum real writing? Or is it when you get paid to put words on paper?
I wrote my first story in third grade. It was about lions and cubs and it was not a paying gig. I brought it home, it was duly noted, “That’s very nice, dear.” And promptly pinned to the refrigerator with the turkey hands and lopsided pink paper hearts.
Even the process of writing enthralled me, especially when I learned to write cursive. Wow! The very act of putting that little hitch at the top of the “r” consumed me. And I won’t even go into the pain of not being able to write straight across the paper – no matter the labor, my lines always took a distressing downward slope -- no uniformity, no flow, and no little gold star!
Discovering my grandfather’s typewriter at 11 elevated me to euphoria. I could put the words on paper that much faster and I just had to have one for my own. I was so disappointed when I didn’t get a typewriter for my birthday that year. Bummer, I had to go to Austria instead. It took me another year, but I finally got one for my 12th birthday. Every time I rolled in a fresh piece of paper, I was a real writer creating real words for real compensation – a big red letter “A.”
I got a trunk full of diaries representing the need to put down words for my own benefit. Early attempts petered out around March. As the years passed, I trade the strictures and guilt of those empty dated pages for undated, ruled paper filled with too many thoughts in my head that need to be expelled. Mostly caused by errant boyfriends or husbands.
The modern word for this process is now called journaling -- if you write in a diary instead of a journal, is it called diarying? Mmmmm, too close to diarrhea for me. It’s writing, people. Let’ keep it simple here. I’m okay with Google becoming a verb because well, it’s a new word. But whether you’re struggling through your sobs in a journal, dabbling in a diary, or blithely blogging blandishments, you’re writing!
So I maintain that if you are transferring words from your head to some place outside your head – that’s real writing. I write because I have to. I tell compelling stories about people to help them get jobs and I’ve been told I have a knack for it.
What do you have a knack for? What do you write about?