Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I First Knew I Was a Writer When...

Family legend has it that my first efforts at writing came as soon as I learned to read and write. Those early pieces were love poems -- for my mother. (She has them somewhere...)

By the time I was 8 years old and in the 3rd grade, I recorded in my Dr. Seuss's My Book About Me on the "When I Grow Up I Want to Be" page "writer." I also circled "veterinarian," "farmer," "mother," and "musician."

One of the things I love about being a writer is that one can also be any of these other things! Writing is not an exclusive profession. You can write AND. Also, when you choose writing as a profession, your stories and characters allow you to be all of those other professions (like veterinarian and farmer) that you didn't choose to pursue in actual, bill-paying life.



My early works were all about my Number One Obsession in childhood: horses. I was very good at starting stories, and I loved creating bound, illustrated versions.

The bad news is that the book pictured here only has about 4 completed pages! I got burned out or my enthusiasm waned or I got distracted by a brand new idea... and never finished the story! (My tendency to abandon a story without finishing is a huge obstacle I've had to overcome!)




And, it might help explain why I am drawn to poetry -- and was, even as a child.

Hey, it's short!

All this to say: I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't identify myself as a writer. I wrote, so I was a writer! It's as essential to my sense of self as where I was born (Georgia) and the fact of being born the (smack dab in the) middle child in a chaotic family of seven.

The part I didn't know for a very long time was that I needed readers -- but my journey from furtive, private writer to a public, published one is a whole other obstacle-filled story. :)


8 comments:

  1. It looks like you could be an author-illustrator! Gorgeous horse pictures!

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    1. Ha! I still do love to draw and doodle. :) Thanks for reading!

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  2. Love this! I received the same book in 1969 and circled writer as well. It was only last year, at age 50, that I left my job to pursue my dream. While still unpublished to date, I love every step of my new journey, and this post and your site, help keep me going! My novel, written, at age 8, was called Pam's Summer! I set it in New York City, a place I had never been and wrote it on yellow foolscap as that was what I was told writer's use! Thank you for a wonderful gift this morning!

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    1. Yay for Pam's Summer! And Brava for never being too old to chase a dream. Good luck, and KEEP GOING!

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  3. I love that you have pictures of all of these!

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  4. I'm the same way--I always thought I would become a writer. But it also does help to be a writer AND--you get inspiration for your work from your non-writing life!

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  5. I can totally relate. I often spent rainy days "doodling" and writing words in fancy cursive script as a child. I loved writing letters and had some pen pals. Thanks for sharing this post Irene.

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  6. Oh that learning to finish! I'm glad you did. It took me years.

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