Monday, January 18, 2010

A Personal Story

For a couple of months leading up to the new year, “story” kept coming up in things I would hear or read or see.  After a few instances, I started to wonder why. I love a good story, but I felt like it was about more than that. My curiosity started to nudge me as I began to think about the elements of a story and I started to notice them in different places as if they were being waved in front of me like a flag.

It’s kinda like how I never saw a silver 2007 Nissan Altima on the road, ever, until I bought one. All of the sudden, they were everywhere. I’m pretty sure they were driving along next to me everyday since 2007 but I never noticed a single one until it was my personal choice in transportation. 

I took notice and decided to adopt the theme of “story” as my personal theme for 2010. After it showed up a few times, clearly, I thought, I should take some time to look into it further.

I have been writing since I was old enough to scribble words on paper. In fact, this past weekend I uncovered a “diary” from when I was 11 years old. The handwriting is atrocious, the entries are sporadic and what I documented is hilarious. My personal favorite from June 25, 1988 reads, “Today was one of the worst, stupid, days of my life. First the sisters of mine got away with pounding on me. Then my mom and sisters don’t care about me.” How’s that for my own original after school special?
All of the entries start with “Dear Diary”. I misspelled diary once and it said, “Dear Dairy”. It’s weird that I wrote to the notebook as if it were my grandma or something. I wonder where I learned that; probably from Anne of Green Gables or Little House on the Prairie.

Still hesitant to call myself a “writer”, I just know that writing is part of who I am and it is also something that I struggle with. In fact, the process is rarely easy.

“I will start writing after I watch this one movie, after reading one more chapter of that book, after I fold the laundry or empty the dishwasher. I will sit down and write after I go out to dinner with a friend, after I go to the gym, after I call another friend or maybe I should check facebook.” There is always something else to do besides actually sitting down to write. Starting truly is the hardest part.

In 2009, I wrestled with writing a lot. I started the year with great optimism about finally having time to devote to writing after I was laid off in January. I had dreamed for years of having more time to write, and I used a lack of time as an excuse. Then, at the start of 2009, I was given time. Ironically, words and motivation for writing vanished, the very minute I was able to give it my full attention. I made myself do it though. It was as exhausting as looking for a job. After 30 minutes of typing, I wanted to take a nap. I had nothing to say and the stuff I did want to say, I probably shouldn’t. I saved a bunch of crap on my hard drive last year.

If being a good writer happened by simply having an ambitious desire to write, then love should be enough to make a relationship work, right? Ahhh… If only it were that easy. I want to be a good writer someday (and to have a good relationship). It’s hard work sometimes but that ambition (and that love, when it comes to relationship) is a good place start.

So, this awakening to a better understanding of story and what it really means is a fitting theme for me to explore throughout this year.

As it turns out, this whole “story” thing... it’s about more than just writing. 
My quest to know all that is wrapped up in writing a good “story” took me to a place this weekend that has challenged me in life.

It may not be a story just yet but let's see where this goes…

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