As I read these words by fellow blogger Leanne Yong, I got to thinking, “Hey, I’m other people.”
And on that note, let me tell you what’s been going on with me lately.
Writing, people, language, and life
Over a year’s worth of posts, and it all came down to this: Creating is tough. There’s such an intense sense of responsibility that comes with bringing something to life, with creating something from nothing, and putting it out for the world to see. Sure, it’s easy to have nothing and even fairly painless to have something–but going from one to the other, well, that’s the challenge.
So of course, writing is scary. Or at least, I thought it was. But that was before I tried my hand at creating a baby.
Nowadays, I try to pay some of that inspiration back by encouraging people to write.
But every once in a while, a thought creeps into the darkest region of my mind: Are certain folks just not cut out to be professional writers?
I’m not going to say why, because any explanation I could give would be far too tedious and unnecessary. But rest assured, I’m angry. Blindingly, burningly so.
I don’t like to face down a deadline when I’m angry, upset, or stressed about some real life problem. I much prefer to write while calm and collected, with gobs of of empty hours at my disposal.
But that’s the thing about deadlines. They care not a whit about one’s real life circumstances.
I certainly did not feel like explaining to one particularly studious young man why he had received an 90% on his essay, versus the 95% or perhaps 100% he’d apparently hoped for–but school wasn’t over yet. And there would no longer be any putting things off until tomorrow.
I’m not the sporty type. My idea of an outdoor activity is having a picnic outside, and I’d much prefer to have that picnic without someone (Ted) pestering me to play horseshoes or bocce ball. (The last time we had an outdoor barbeque, my husband had to literally pull me from my chair to get me to join in a game.) A few years ago, when Ted and I spent our vacation at an all-inclusive Jamaican resort, I had hoped to spend our time eating, drinking, and laying around on the beach. But I should have known that my loving spouse had other ideas.
Ted wanted to go kayaking, and this was one activity I actually welcomed–mostly because it seemed a great deal more doable than deep sea diving or hang gliding. The instructor allowed us to sign out a kayak, but warned us not to stray too far from the shore because the waters were a bit choppy. No problem, we said, as all we wanted to do was paddle around the beach for a while. If I remember correctly, Ted let me have the front of the kayak; I think he assumed that the person in back would have the slightly more arduous job.
Last week, a select group of seniors at our school competed for the chance to deliver original speeches during graduation, and I was asked to sit in as one of the judges. I sat and watched these seven or eight honors students shakily read through speeches they had written themselves, each hoping for the chance to share his or her speech with an even larger, more intimidating audience. I couldn’t help but feel awed by their bravery. Could I have done the same thing at their age? Not likely. Hell, I doubt I could do the same thing now.
“The kids should learn how to do it,” we think to ourselves, year after year.”We don’t have to, of course, because we know better. But let the kids suffer through it–it’ll make them stronger!”
“The kids should learn how to do it,” we think to ourselves, year after year. “We don’t have to, of course, because we know better. But let the kids suffer through it–it’ll make them stronger!”
One reader commented, “While I cringe at the idea of mediocre writing being considered better than no writing, I do agree with you that in an educational environment such practice is necessary.”
I don’t blame him for cringing at that; the truth is, I cringed too, as I wrote it. And I knew I’d have to go back at some point and dedicate a new post to that very idea.