Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thank You Summer School - That's Why I Write

Buffalo Botanical Gardens - 2013

I was asked the question recently of why do I write?

Here’s the answer.

I write because at a young age, (14) I realized, through a huge fail, (failed 8th grade and I was doomed with Summer School) that I had something to say, and that people did want to hear my stories. I just got caught up in life and pushed it aside for others, (except for a few years when I worked for a Newspaper as a writer/reporter) until the 500 word challenge came along.

I found the 500 Word Challenge on Facebook and it has changed everything for me. My expectations of myself have gotten higher in writing, and the endless stories that have begun to pop into my head that I thought were long gone are back and begging to come to life.

My ability to actually SIT DOWN and write them down now, instead of letting them float off into the wild blue yonder, has been the biggest hurtle of all and to me shows the beginning of a renewed desire to create and write.

I know now I will never give up writing again. It really was foolish to quite in the first place. I have found I love getting up every day with fresh ideas in my head. There are so many possibilities I have to offer to whoever I happen to conger up that day; I can create whoever I want and I can do whatever I want to do and go where ever I dream; so I would say that’s pretty good for someone who had been a huge procrastinator, and wasn't even writing in her journal. I have begun to go to places I have been dreaming of – and they are beginning to “breathe” and that shows progress.

I give an applaud to writing as an oasis, a retreat to the center of the imagination; writing every day has fueled a old flame for me. And if an idea begins to smolder, I just have to blow on it a little to get the flames burning again. 

That is what writing every day has done for me.

The writing could be my blog, or it could be a comment, or developing a character’s charm or disgust; or weaving the scene of Southern Charm and mystery of the Antebellum South, but its productive and I loose myself in another place and isn't that what writing is about? Transporting someone to another place? I am learning that I have not lost the ability to transport – it was just dormant, just waiting for a spark. Thank goodness its back.

I am weaving these stories in my head and getting them down permanently and that is a great, GREAT accomplishment for me. And to see the scenes and the people develop and to anticipate and then relish even one comment on my blog or fuel one dream for someone else, that is why I write.

I do it for myself but I do it mostly for others. Because writing isn’t about me, it’s for everyone who reads it. Isn't it? 

I will never regret that I failed 8th grade or the summer I sacrificed to go to Summer School. I can honestly say I am glad I had to take English over and write Essays, those were some of the most creative stories I have ever written.

I don’t even have them on paper anymore, just in my mind. Bits and pieces come back from time to time to tempt those memories. I remember giving the stories to my Great Aunt, she was so proud I did so well, not just because I needed to pass, but because she knew how much I loved it by the grades I got.

One of my first stories was about a man who had gotten stranded in the dessert, It was so hot during the day, and at night he would bury himself in the sand as deep as he could with only his face sticking out so he could breath and he wouldn't freeze. He had holy sneakers and Levi jeans and no idea what direction to go, he just knew if he gave up he would die. I can’t remember the end; I think he lived, but barely. I do remember he had blue eyes and red hair, and the rest, I am at a loss for.

I also remember the awesome red A+ on the top of the page from the grease pencil my Summer School teacher used to show my success. He thought my Essays were great too and he couldn't believe I had such a hard time in English. That mark was a badge of honor for me and I kept it up on every new Essay I did for the whole 6 weeks of Summer School.

That school experience really inspired me; and I think I started to journal that year. My great Aunt was such a motivator and she loved to build me up and encourage me in all I did, she wanted me to shoot for the stars. She was a very successful single woman – a trail blazer for her time (she’s a whole other story!) and to get a compliment from her was better than any pat on the back from anyone else I knew.

I think today I have over 30 journals that I have hung onto and there is always one in progress. I am neglecting it a bit, due to my 500 Word Challenge, but they are still full of story material and just reading one sentence can bring a whole new world to life.

I am not bitter from my Summer School experience. It sparked a flame that has never gone out, not completely, and it is starting to burn brighter than ever and that is progress.

I have more than one book inside of me – I could write one just on Summer School, the new friends I met there and never saw again, the hill across the street where we would go to smoke cigarettes before our first class, the struggle to get up all summer at 7 a.m. to make it to the bus … and the laughs.

Most of all I would have to say the best part about Summer School was passing. My Aunt celebrated by having “Congratulations Amy” put on the Dairy Queen sign in a town, I wasn't surprised, not at all. She loved a celebration and my success, to her, was well worth a celebration.

So  a Thank You goes to my Great Aunt Grace and to 8th grade Summer School and to all of you whom I am writing for,  it is because of these things that I write.