I am a writer. I know that for sure. I have been writing since I was in the early grades of elementary school. It came so easy. It always did then. It was what I thought, and what I felt, and what I wanted to say. I didn’t think about what anyone else would think of it. I didn’t consider why I did it or what I would do with it when it was finished…I just wrote!
I can remember writing poems and stories as early as the second grade. I guess you could say that as soon as I learned the basics of reading and writing, I became a writer.
I remember the poem that was to become my first recognized piece of work. I was given a huge piece of paper; and I do mean huge! It was laid out on the floor and I had to crawl over it as I wrote the words down. It was an enlarged version of the paper they give you when you are first learning to do your “letters.” (You know…the kind with the two blue lines and the one red line in the middle. Your “capitol letters” were to touch the top and bottom blue line, and your “small letters” were to only come between the bottom blue line and the center red line.) Remember?
Anyway, they gave me a big black marker to do the writing with. I can still remember the smell of that marker as I painstakingly copied the words from my little paper onto those gigantic lines. I don’t remember how long it took to do it. I do remember how my hands trembled as I wrote. I was afraid I would make a mistake and ruin this big, wonderful paper. At times, I would have to lay the marker down and shake my hand because I was gripping the marker so tight my hand would either cramp or go numb.
Finally it was finished! The teacher helped me roll it up and we carried it down to the main hallway of Elementary School #55. (I never did know the name of that school. In those days most schools just went by a number.)
The teacher told me they were going to put my poem up on the bulletin board but I had no idea it was going to be put on the main bulletin board in the front lobby of the school! Everyday nearly everyone in the school would see my poem as they entered the building!
That was the beginning! Not the beginning of writing, but the beginning of the overwhelming “high” that can only be understood to its fullest by another writer. The thrill of seeing your work “published.” Maybe a bulletin board in an elementary school lobby isn’t a legitimate definition of “being published” in any writer’s marketing guide, but to me…that poem will always be my first “published” work!
I didn’t know it then, but it lit a spark within me that would later become my best friend and, at times, my worst enemy. It started a fire in my heart, even as a very small child, that would continue throughout my life. Sometimes it would blaze and at other times it would seem to nearly go out all together. But, thank God, it never did and I don’t think it ever will!
I still ask myself a lot of questions about who I am, but one thing I know of a certainty…I am a writer!
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