Why Am I a Writer?
My first encounter with real writing came in a sixth grade classroom. I’m not talking about spelling or sentence writing as a programed skill, I’m talking about putting thoughts down on a piece of paper. I remember the teacher of that sixth grade English class giving us an assignment of imaginative writing. We could write about anything we wanted to, as long as it was clean, detailed, and something that we knew about. It had to be at least five sheets of paper long (no skipping lines), and we couldn’t use any book or encyclopedias. It had to be right out of our own knowledge and thoughts.
At that time I was not sure that I had anything to write about. After all, what does a 12 year old really know about anything? I went home with the assignment and asked my father what he thought I could write about. He suggested writing about my experiences the previous summer with growing our garden, or growing up with my brothers and him. His suggestions were valid and I pondered them as I set the table and helped him prepare dinner.
I later went to my room and thought for several hours about the things that I really knew about. I knew about being a girl. I knew about being a sister and daughter. I knew about my mom, who was gone, but I could still remember some things about her even though they were fading. I knew about my grandmothers who I loved spending time with and learning from. I knew about my friends at school and the things we did together. I knew about animals—horses, cows, dogs, and chickens. I knew about trees, climbing in them and eating the cherries and apples they produced. I knew about ice skating on a frozen pond in the middle of winter and my butt being so cold I couldn’t feel it. I knew about church and accepting Jesus for the first time.
Taking out my notebook, I started listing all the things I could think of that I knew about. It was amazing when I realized I knew about more than I initially thought. What was even more amazing was trying to decide which topic I wanted to write about. I finally decided to write about climbing trees with my brothers and getting sick from all the cherries I ate. I suppose to most readers these days that wouldn’t make much of a story, but to a little 12 year old, it was the most awesome experience ever, especially when I could do it whenever I wanted by just walking out my back door when the cherries were in season.
Writing doesn’t have to be a chore or an assignment to those who listen to their thoughts and imaginations. Writing opens up a world of one person’s experiences to another person who would like to take that journey. Come with me and see what I know.