I love words. I love words that are interesting, impressive, or unusual. Learning new words excites me, and subtle differences between synonyms fascinate me. “Word porn” really is a thing for me.
I love grammar. I can make the stupidest typos known to man, but I love grammar and all its minutiae. A good friend of mine gave me a plaque that reads, “I am silently correcting your grammar.” I frequently am. But my mother’s training in manners and etiquette ensures that I don’t do it out loud.
I love stories. I’ve created stories for as long as I can remember. My playtime as a kid involved creating characters and settings and elaborate plots. My favorite toy for years was a tape recorder. I dictated more stories into that thing than I could ever count. Sometimes I wonder whatever happened to all those tapes. I should probably try to track them down and burn them. But oh, the hours I spent crafting crazy tales.
The first time I recall really putting a story down on paper was in fourth grade. We would get these worksheets each week with either vocabulary or spelling words (I don’t remember which). We were supposed to use each word in a sentence. I wrote a story instead. It was a short story, only a paragraph, but I created a story with the words. And I kept doing it, week after week.
It only took a few weeks to grow frustrated with the limitations of those school assignments. So I wrote my own story–pages and pages, divided into chapters. I can still see those pages in my memory–misspellings, bad handwriting, and all. The story itself was melodramatic and rather imitative (like most first stories, I guess), but I was hooked. I declared that someday I would be a writer.
It’s now many, many years later. I’ve been a bit slow in following that particular dream.
But I am pursuing it. I’m slowly getting more comfortable with calling myself a writer. Maybe not a great one, but a writer nonetheless.
What do I write these days? Stories, still. They will always be my first love. I’ve posted some on various corners of the interwebs, and the feedback I get makes me smile. I blog (obviously). I journal. I’ve written a few paid items and am working toward expanding my portfolio there.
The question as to why I write is a bit trickier. I’m not sure I know entirely how to answer it. Why do I breathe? I can’t not. Writing is much the same–I don’t know how not to. It’s always been there, a part of me, and I don’t know how not to do it. Even if I don’t get it all down on paper or on a computer screen, there are dozens of story snippets rattling around in my brain at all times. No offense, but even when I’m in conversation with you I’m probably talking to myself in my head. Sorry. I try to control it. Sometimes.
But I also write because it helps me wrangle some of those thoughts and ideas flying around in my head–helps me sift through them and figure out what they are. I write because my ideas come together so much more cohesively in this format than they ever could in conversation. I’m actually a rather wretched conversationalist–I never outgrew the socially awkward phase. But in writing, I have time to sort through what I want to say, and it comes out much clearer. This is why I prefer email to the phone.
I write because I believe in the power of words. I long to make a difference, to influence the world for good, and I think words are an incredible way to do that. Words can challenge the intellect and sway opinion. They can cut to the heart. They can soothe and comfort. The pen truly is mightier than the sword.
I hope to wield it well.