Once upon a time, I wrote. Not just a little, but relentlessly. I'd outline stories, make notes, and handwrite until my wrist felt as though it might fall off. I even had a routine during junior high and high school; I never wrote until 8:00 p.m., and then I'd sit at my desk, turn on the special gooseneck lamp, and write for at least an hour, and sometimes longer. I poured my soul into those stories; when I finished one, I'd pass it among trusted friends who generally gave me positive feedback and encouraged me to write more. And I did. One of my best memories of writing was in tenth grade when I'd shared a "novel" with a good friend who let a less well known acquaintance read it. This girl stood up in our Gifted and Talented class and told the entire group what a great writer I was and how much she loved my story. I still glow just thinking of it.
When I was in college, I shared my love of writing with a good buddy, Mike, who also had a vivid imagination. Between the two of us, we came up with a tale of a fantasy hero and his world, and I wrote, using his ideas. I seriously considered trying to get this one published, but alas, that fell to the wayside, even if once again, our friends and families seemed to love it. (I know it's a friend's/family's job to be supportive, but I also know false flattery when I hear it, and I never felt as though I was hearing it).
And then I took advanced composition in college. I'd comped out of freshman composition so I didn't have that background to prepare me, but hey, I was a writer, so how hard could it be? Well, considering that the professor beat the love of writing out of me, I'd say it was devastating. I wasn't one of the two newspaper reporters in the class so I didn't count. I'd meet with the professor for advice and walk away wondering what had just happened. This class was one of only two C's I earned in college, which I can live with. But even today, I'd like to take the time to let that professor know just how much she took from me with her casual dismissals of any skills I might've possessed, and her lack of enthusiasm for any suggestion I made.
My mind is still full of stories I'd love to write, but I haven't done anything since college. I'd like to move past that time and just write because I enjoy it, which is what I always did prior to that time. But how do you do it? Nowadays when I write, I think way too much about audience, possible publication, and turn of phrase. When I do write anything, I generally end up liking how I wrote it upon review, but the thought of sharing it with anyone sends shivers up my spine. In my mind, it just won't be good enough.
I've spent many years blaming this professor, and rightly so. But now I'm 43, and it's time for me to take responsibility for my own actions. I should never have allowed her that power in my life. Just who the hell was she, anyway? Just because she had a doctorate I've allowed her to judge me. Well, no more. As school comes to a close, I am promising myself that this summer, I will write. It may never see the light of day, and I've got to make peace with that. But I cannot allow something that gave me so much pleasure for so many years to lie dormant any longer. I've got to take back my own power. Do you hear my voice echoing over the years, Dr. Cox? If not, let me reiterate: You will no longer be the force that holds me back. And that in itself is going to be my reward. I promise myself.