Friday, February 12, 2016

Writing Myself Alive

Where I wish I could be writing. The Red Cottage on Mabel Lake

Figured I might hop on my blog here today and let my loyal readers know why they are not seeing much from me these days. I have joined a 30 day Writing Marathon to kick start my creative juices and get over some writer's block that has taken hold lately.

The good news is, I am really enjoying the process and the program is really getting me deeper into my passion which you all know is the written word. The program requires accountability and writing exercises that are stretching me in different directions and just generally making me commit more time to my novel.  Today, one of the prompts was to summarize your creative path and growth to date.  I will share what I wrote with you and perhaps a few other snippets  as I move through the marathon. Most of you are aware of most of this already, but others may not know me as intimately. I give you Day 11.

Dig Deeper…Day 10…recall your artistic growth/path 

Colouring. It all started with colouring. Brightly coloured construction paper and fat Crayolas in Kindergarten. These brought me joy. This was followed by the primitive musical instruments that we would clang together like an untrained chaotic orchestra. But the teacher would really up the creative ante when she would say, OK, today boys and girls, I would like you to write a poem." That was the real music to my ears. Rhyming words. Roses are red, violets are blue, pass me a pencil, I’ll parlez-vous. For a shy, dreamy little girl, poetry was my Nirvana. There was something about the focused searching for the right words, the rhyming words that would still convey the context of the story being told in the poem that truly could engage me for hours. 

Later on it was word puzzles. I couldn’t wait for the Saturday paper to land on the front porch so I could grab the giant Word Find and then when I got a little older, it was the weekend Crossword. It was a great brain workout that didn’t seem like work to me. It also helped earn me A’s in spelling. In seventh grade, I summoned up the courage to submit one of my poems to the annual school yearbook for publication, not knowing if it would actually end up making it into the Poetry Section. I wasn’t even sure if I really wanted it to appear, as it was an angst filled sonnet of pre-teen heartbreak. When it did get printed for the whole school to see, I realized the incredible light it shone on my already shaky vulnerability and I was embarrassed and regretted sharing something so personal. It was the end of my poetry career, publicly anyway. 

I continued to write poems and love letters and journals for years. Years later when I was not accepted into one of Canada’s top Journalism schools, it was my skill as a letter writer and journal writer that helped me turn that “decline” letter to an “accepted” letter after refusing to accept their decline decision. I called the chairman of the department and begged for a face to face interview. An appointment was made and I pleaded my case and convinced them that I would show them what a great reporter I could be even though I had never worked on my high school paper. (that was pretty much a prerequisite for entry at the time) What I had done, was set off to see the world after high school and I had what could only be defined as “street smarts” and had recorded my adventures in journals. I was accepted as a “mature student” at 24. 

It was there, in my years at Ryerson’s Journalism school that I developed another love. Photography. It was part of the curriculum to be able to wield a camera. so I turned my focus to photojournalism. I could already write. This was exciting and new. I wanted to turn it into a career, but as fate would have it, I ended up taking a job in PR after graduation and I wrote advertising copy and public relations materials and put the silly notion of becoming a photojournalist or reporter behind me. There were few jobs in my field at the time and they went to the superstars of the program, not me. 

Over the next decade I made the mistake of working for money versus doing what I loved. I got married, had a child, stayed at home and went back to colouring with my toddler.  And decorating my house. I was bored. I went back to school to get some accreditation for my decorating and studied at night for 3 years. I started my own interior decorating business and it worked for me for another decade until I got fed up with the design world. I still enjoyed the field, but didn’t want to work for other people any longer. I missed writing. I knew I had to return to my passions. I read a quote – I forget who said it, but it was simply…“If you want to be a writer, start writing.” 

I launched my blog shortly after I read that. I had no idea what I wanted to write about, but I stopped worrying about all that and just started writing again. Since 2009 I have kept my blog going. It is not a money earner and I don’t care about that. It is simply a place for me to write. A place that I go to hone my skills, pour my heart out, rant, rave and ponder. Sometimes I even write poetry. I do whatever the hell I feel like doing there and it has been a wonderful tool for examining my life, commenting on the world, expressing my creativity and simply stringing words together to form some meaning to myself and others. It is something I do for the sheer love of doing it. And that has been enough until now. Joining this 30 day marathon is my next step. Not sure where it is leading, but I am enjoying the ride. 

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