The first time i've written for a long time

November 1, 2008
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As soon as you write something down, it is yours forever. And, if you wanted to, you could show someone else, so they could keep it too. But really, it is yours forever. If anyone ever wants to take it away from you, all you need to do is remember and to remind them that, it is yours forever.

When I was younger, around ten, when I still believed that there was a chance of doing what I wanted whenever I wanted for an entire lifetime, I wanted to be an author. It seemed liberating in a strange way, like somehow one person could tell another a wonderful story that was inspiring, humorous and sorrow stricken but not know. How could you affect someone that much and not know?

So, I wrote my own stories. They were short and they were terrible. I never showed them to anyone because I was not proud of them. I thought they were terrible. But, I loved writing them all the same. I didn’t know too many words and the ones that I did know were spelt incorrectly. I was and will always be a terrible speller. So I wrote my short fault ridden books and told no one. All I told them was that I wanted to be an author. The only story I ever wrote and shared was about a dog I did not know, did not care about and did not invent. His name was Fly and I thought he was good enough because I had seen him on TV. I didn’t even change his name.

Six years later and I share my stories. They are ones about boys with eating disorders, girls who follow strangers and kids that know more than their parents. Excuse me, but I have a mould to break. Sometimes my teacher says, ‘Rachell, this is really not what we are looking for, are you sure you understood the question?’ I shake my head but I actually did. So she smiles and is willing give me another chance. I take that chance but I hand in a piece of paper next time. There is nothing of me on it.

Oscar Wilde is my favourite writer and I have all his books, all his poems and all his plays. I haven’t read all of them and I think I really need to. But I still don’t, because I am scared I will not like him as much after. I have read ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ though. I made it out to be better than it actually was because I saw a review in the paper and it got four stars. However, there is one thing I remember about that story, and it is when the painter, Basil felt that he could not sell his painting, nor could he let it hang in a gallery, because he felt that he had simply put too much of himself in it.

It wasn’t self-consciousness. If that were the problem, he would not paint as well as he does. Painters are brave because they know that anyone can paint and yet they do it. This is how I see writers. Anyone can write. They impress no one, maybe except themselves. Yet they do it. As a ten year old, I did not feel the need to impress anyone, so I wrote for myself. I could not show anyone my stories because I knew that they were small pieces of me. The stories were about boys named Jack who played football and sheep who lost their mothers. My name is not Jack, I have never enjoyed playing or watching football and I am certainly not a sheep. Yet, they were me.

Rejection wasn’t an issue. I was too young to know that people are always polite and too old to think that I was always right. I was reluctant to share because I only had so much in me, I couldn’t afford to lose it to anyone, not even my mother or father, or anyone who would not understand.

Now I write for numbers. Hopefully numbers that will ensure an A. If the numbers are not as high as I would like them to be, which they often are, my spirit does not suffer, I am just disappointed. I do not feel sick because of the pointlessness of the exercise. I am sick because I am failing English.

Of course I do not want to fail so I write as many words as they ask me and I hand them in with no problems. In the very beginning I had some reservations, but now it comes easily, naturally, on a weekly basis. On the piece of paper is not something I wrote with my hands, it is constructed with a ticking machine, by a machine.

For school I wrote a story about how I felt and my teacher gave a worksheet on structure. She said that structure was important and that there needs to be certain sequences, descriptions and lots of showing-not-telling. I knew all of this because I listen in class so I will not fail English. But I was weary. I never thought life had anything to do with a set sequence, I never felt the need to tell someone about the sunsets and the dirt roads because I thought that surely they knew. Had they not opened their eyes on a new morning and had they never walked a trodden path? I had no intention of showing them anything because they would never understand, understand that I have something to say and they are going to ignore it. I had no faith in anyone else and I am tired and selfish.

In short, I was a terrible writer. But, I wrote for myself. The stories were real and the words were me. It amazed me whenever I looked down the page and I understood what they meant and I hoped so dearly that others would too. But, I learnt that they did not want to understand, they wanted requirements met and a showcase of several different sentence structures. They wanted flair and sophistication. I just wanted people to understand that I am tired, but I am true.

Someone I admire went through art school and said that he had lost all desire to create any art. When I write a story, I do it because I am instructed and because I am not all that bad after all if I just follow orders. This year, I wrote a story about a ‘making choices’ and I was sure to include a character description, vivid imagery and to use words that not even I understood. I got an A and the teacher was glad I was making an effort.

I write because I have to and no more. This scares me. My own words are no longer part of me. We do not talk. We never fight. And I feel we understand each other less and less. They are not mine; they are my English teacher’s.

But I am old enough to know that I do not want to abandon this because it would mean abandoning not just a little sliver, but a whole slice of myself. I cannot afford to lose so much after everything else because there will be nothing left and one day I will wake up and feel as if I am only doing things because I have to. I will never be uncomfortable, because no one will ever see me and I am just another girl who succeeds but without a mind and without any intention otherwise. I never wanted that.

Oh. By the way, today it rained and the soft, soothing drops of sky are once again beginning to fall. I know this because though my heavy velvet curtains are drawn, I can hear the familiar echoes of water sliding down the foggy windowpane in no particular hurry. I cannot see them, but I can imagine the trails that the leave, like the trails of the buzzing insects in the trees. If I stop long enough and breathe in slowly, I can sense the rich aroma of the worms doing their job and turning earth. I have always had a keen sense of hearing and smell. My hair is an unforgiving melancholy brown.

Join the Discussion

This article has 360 comments. Post your own now!

rachell li said...
Apr. 20, 2009 at 11:09 am
then read/vote for the ones you do like, josh!
Bethany W. said...
Apr. 19, 2009 at 4:29 am
I thought the idea of it was very original; the ending had spectacular touch because even as you loved the adjectives, you knew you were proving the author correct.

I often feel the same way as you seemed to when you wrote this article; very blanched, sort of as a third person instead of as yourself. I, however, could never put that feeling of isolation into words.
JoshK said...
Apr. 18, 2009 at 10:29 pm
I'm sorry, but I didn't think this was very good. In general, the writing was just extremely sloppy and awkward. The message isn't terribly original, either. It's frustrating to see this stay number one for so long when there are many are pieces that are much better.
Poppy said...
Apr. 18, 2009 at 5:11 am
All I can say is Wow, truly amazing, and very inspiring! You make me feel as though all of the mediocre stories I have written could truly be something special. I thank you for that boost of confidence!
rachell said...
Apr. 16, 2009 at 11:36 am
haha. Earth Crisis. Forever true!
Allaboutlyf said...
Apr. 15, 2009 at 2:32 am
wow..this article is absolutely amazing !!
you are so ..real!! Stay true!!
aivilo said...
Apr. 11, 2009 at 10:46 pm
wow. you are awesome! you write even if others do not understand what you write. that writing doesn't have to be strategical; it can be anything you want it to. then you go and write very very very very very very very very very very very very very well in the last paragraph!
MorningStar15 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 11, 2009 at 1:45 am
lovely you sound like me
Alison K. said...
Apr. 8, 2009 at 5:28 pm
Beautiful. You described yourself tremendously well. Try something that I do. I turn on the computer and type everything that I think, nothing is left out. When I'm done, I turn off the computer. I wait until the next day, and then I take everything that I wrote, and I turn my soul into something that fits the needs of literature. I put myself into it, and then I mold myself.
kaylala :) said...
Apr. 6, 2009 at 6:19 pm
There are several comments above criticizing your article. Maybe you appreciate that criticism, maybe it's justified. I don't think so, though. This article, in my opinion, was painfully beautiful. It made my heart ache. You don't need three adjectives to describe every noun to make your point. This article made me want to cry for you, I felt the sadness you felt. Keep writing, for you. When you do, it will be right.
Helena•••MCR said...
Mar. 28, 2009 at 3:11 am
The teachers, they took your love of words away from you and made it dull. Because of them, the words have lost their meaning and become empty letters and paragraphs drawn across the page. You have a gift of writing, and you cannot let them take it away.
You write because you -want- to. Dear, you need to know that most people go through school, through life even, so complacent and without a care. You can't let that happen to you. This is something, this is special. Keep on writing, and ... (more »)
Andrea W. said...
Mar. 26, 2009 at 9:45 pm
I love this story. i think its really cute. i absoulutly ADORE the beggining...its a really good hook that catches the reader until the very last word. i wish you would send more to be publised on here...i promise to read every one of them. mines not too good, but its can read it if you like. thanks. keep writing!! heres the link to my story....
Dulcenina1210 said...
Mar. 23, 2009 at 3:14 pm
Catherine...i think the reason its been popular for so long was because it had a lot of heart to it. and the reason it was long was to fully grasp the emotions she was feeling...overall great work. i too feel my work is not all for me sometimes, but just for my teacher and that if i conform it to my standards, my teacher doesn't understand. the last paragraph was slightly confusing to me tho
Catherine:) said...
Mar. 20, 2009 at 2:41 pm
i thought your article was okay, but i dont find it quite fair that it has been so popular for so long, when there is some articles out there that are alot better.
NovelistJoshF. said...
Mar. 18, 2009 at 7:54 am
I believe you. Every word you said and felt are the same things I feel when I am in class. I wish teachers would let you write what you want to write. It is okay sometimes to have those certain grammar and english standards but let loose sometimes and just write what you feel like writing. I have gone through the same experiences. Sometimes the teachers make it too complicated to write what you want to write. Whenever that happens to me I just kind of bend the rules to make it my own instead of... (more »)
SomeoneElse said...
Feb. 24, 2009 at 10:11 pm
oh my god, thank you. everything that you said is completely true. i love how you just say it, too, in your own words. i admire you for that.
Brooke said...
Feb. 24, 2009 at 2:28 pm
Wow, that was so long it was ridiculous. It wasn't bad, but in my eyes, it wasn't good. I liked the message, but almost fell asleep in the middle because I scrolled down and saw how much more there was. Wow. My eyes hurt.
Josephine D. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 22, 2009 at 7:32 pm
I have a poem which I wrote, and then i read this. in my mind, they say the exact same thing, just in very different forms.

i really like this, and i think it was written very well!
xhelloxlovex14 said...
Feb. 21, 2009 at 5:08 pm
Hi, I liked your last paragraph. To me it means, "See world I can write how they want to write, but it's not me." My teacher this year hates everything I write. She enjoyes suckups and people who put her opnion back on paper. This is not me. I enjoy opposition and a good healhy debate. I like to speak my mind on things, even if I may not have the 'best' answer or be right. I right to let things out, and just show myself where i do not need to be afraid. I agree with your paper entirely.... (more »)
Anonymous This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 20, 2009 at 10:37 pm
you amaze me. and somehow, i know what you mean. i only show people my most pointless peices of work, things that didnt matter when i first wrote them and never will. but thats what they understand, what they like. this, ilove. im going to copy it into my journal if you dont mind. wow. nice to have my feelings written for me.thanks
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