Monday, February 13, 2012
How did I begin writing? Like many of you, I fell in love with literature when I was little. I escaped into amazing novels when I was a teen. I was incredibly shy but found that I could express myself easily in words. I tried writing stories when I was in college...and completely sucked at it. I dropped out of my first creative writing class on day two without giving it much of a try.
After fourteen years of marriage, I found myself in the process of getting divorced with full custody of two very young children; I struggled to survive taking care of them while working full-time. I felt like a failure. I was ashamed to tell people I was getting divorced with an infant and a first-grader. I was humiliated that I didn't even see it coming.
So I told people one by one. And one by one they told me their story.
There was an epidemic of failed marriages in my building, and most of their stories were worse than mine. One day after the next, I found myself talking more than working.
A friend of mine (who is now my husband) suggested I write a blog about it. I'm not a fan of bashing people publicly, especially my kids' dad. So the blog was private, and my identity was obfuscated. The blog became more about me, dealing with the day-to-day insanity of being a single mom, than it was about my ex.
I could only write about the most difficult days, one after the next, by putting a funny spin on it. But writing about it helped me cope, made me stronger, gave me control. And I found my voice as a writer of dark comedies. There's nothing better than hearing the person sitting in the cubicle next to me laughing out loud until they cry after reading my posts.
Several years later, I got remarried. Day after day, my husband reminded me I didn't need to work anymore. After several months, I resigned. One of my co-workers told me I should write full-time. My daughter said the same. But I didn't have the confidence. I didn't have a story formulated in my mind.
Two years after that I started a consulting business. A month after I started getting work, I found myself pregnant. A year after having my baby, I found myself disabled, unable to walk.
Trapped in a chair, I opened up a silly pink spiral-bound journal covered in cartoon aliens that my kids had bought me for my birthday. And I wrote my first story, a children's story about the bunny that lives under my porch. A year later, I was able to walk with a cane and took a writing class where I met my wonderful critique partner. I finished the last word of that children's story, wrote a novel, and started another. I wrote about forty poems and several short stories. I had become that person I thought I would never be...a writer.
Now I have a list of stories to write, more stories to write than time to write them. I am grateful for those bad times that brought me to this place. It's been kind of a rough road getting here, but it's been worth it.