Writing Workshop: The Journey of a Writer

I have always been a Storyteller.

In my early school grades I couldn’t avoid the limelight of the “Show and Tell”.  I have a feeling I was up in front of that class almost every day making up some wild story about my dog or family.  MANY years later I ran into one of my teachers and asked her why she never stopped me.  She said the stories were entertaining.  Looking back, I see her as a most creative teacher.  When I wasn’t telling tall tales, she had me in the back of the room painting murals on chalkboard sized brown paper.  That is what she did with this kid who had ADHD. She let me stand and shuffle and paint while listening the whole time to her lessons.  Now they have special therapy names for that!

Life was good.  I told my stories and painted to my heart’s content!

That teacher must have talked to my next teacher because I spent most of that year making up puppet plays and going “on the road”: basically sent out of the room to entertain the younger kids.

Thankfully I had wonderful friends who enjoyed playing make-believe and that is what we did for HOURS and DAYS. We created all new worlds by laying out piles of leaves just right to create rooms in elaborate “castles”, or pretending our bikes were horses or motorcycles. I worry that children today with their obsession with smart phones and tablets won’t have free time to play make-believe and develop their creative side.

Occasionally I went too far and created whole new make-believe friends. I would convince the other kids they had famous or wonderful lives. I also convinced them I spoke Scottish and babbled some odd words. As an adult I would find out there was such a language and it was called Gaelic. On vacations I would try on new names and backstories when I would play with kids I encountered. I wonder, did my friends and their parents think I was nuts? Or an odd duck? Most definitely!

By middle school I was writing stories down on scrap paper and storing them in cast off cardboard cigar boxes. The box would be handed off to a good friend to enjoy and end up being circulated around the school, coming back with little comments on the pages. A small fan base was being born. I suppose that was the early version of a story going viral. Though now a days a child bringing a cigar box into school would probably not be allowed.

Those stories still exist in a larger box, just waiting to be tapped into: Back then none of my friends cared if I could spell correctly. It was in school I had to struggle with my dyslexia. Yes, how ironic, someone with a passion to write, has a problem with writing!

My drawing and painting continued on those scrap pieces of paper my father brought home from work. He was a very talented artist and craftsman himself, painting watercolors, doodling, and in woodworking. So it was shocking to me when I overheard him talking to an Aunt who was telling him about a special young artist program at the local college I could attend, and he told her no.  I look back now and understand, they didn’t have the money to send me.

It wasn’t until high school that I learned a very important lesson. My high school creative writing assignments leaned toward the dramatic and dark. One teacher loved one of my short stories, while another gave me a low grade because he felt it was too melodramatic. I remember that day very clearly. We had a woman substitute teacher. When she laid my returned story on my desk, I grumbled angrily at the grade. She picked it up and began reading it. She stood right next to me and I could see her eyes scanning over my words, and I could hear the changing pattern of her breath sounds as she came to the scarier parts. Finished, she placed the papers back down on my desk, tapped them with her finger, and whispered, ‘I would have given you an A.’ and walked away. In that moment I learned that not everyone is going to like my writing style, so don’t be discouraged. I also learned how much fun it was to evoke emotions in a Reader.

Life didn’t quite go as I planned. Convinced by my parents that art and writing for a living would not pan out a comfortable lifestyle, college was the next step. Carrying a full load of science courses, I needed an emotional outlet. That was when the series Moonchild’s Prophecy was born. It was handwritten onto many pieces of paper. Unfortunately, because life got very busy back then, during and after college, those pages were not looked at again until many years later. By then I had started a family and there were only little bits here and there of free time to write..and I did.

Is a Writer born or created? I know my Dad loved to sing goofy songs and tell tall tales. He was a master of spoken story telling. And my Mom and her Mom loved to write letters. Because of those saved letters we have a nice family history. I suppose I did inherit the gift of gab and saving stories to paper. As for where all the stories come from? I wish I knew, because they won’t stop popping into my head! No Writer’s Block for me ever.  My problem has been time..not enough!

Atwood

 

I invite you to read the other articles under the Writing Workshop title. I will share with you what I have learned over time.

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