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.

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This article has 360 comments. Post your own now!

edgeofnight said...
Mar. 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Truly wow...I have to say that this is absolutely brilliant. I loved it, you are an amazing writer, no matter what your teachers say. This is one of the best pieces I read these past weeks. Above all I loved the irony of the final description, keep it up. 

I felt the same about the stories being mine, showing my true self, which is why I showed so few people my stories, or told them of my ideas. So, I ended up writing only for myself.


KatsK This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm
I agree. This article was really good. I must say, I think of myself as a good writer, though only a few people have told me that, and I want --but don't want-- people to read them. I don't really show them to anyone, and so they sit, stagnant and dull, until I resurrect them once again. Which is why I joined Teenink.
singergurl12 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 1, 2011 at 6:39 am

haha i see what you did there! it was like *facts* *facts* *facts* and then boom, you left us hanging with a sense that you CAN write, and well, too. excellent work, and I love the structure of it! One thig english teachers tend not to realise is that short stories DO have structure and organization, just not the 5-paragraph, thesis/into, support, support, support, conclusion support they think is so crucial. great work!

if you don't mind, can you check out my peices What About the Wee... (more »)

chlo1787 said...
Feb. 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm
This was amazing, I loved the tone of the passage and it makes me look at art and writing/books differently.
SummerDays11 said...
Feb. 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm
Everything you wrote was so true.  I have the same problem in English class.  As soon as you try to start writing, you start worrying about types of sentences and giving examples.  All originality becomes lost in the process.   You are a amazing writer!
HisPurePrincess This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 7, 2011 at 10:59 am
wow, this is so awesome.  i don't know why you say that you are a terrible writer.  a good writer can connect with the audience, and you sure did.  i would love for you to read my stuff.  i can't decide yet what i want to be.  even if i become a graphic designer or an illustrator, i'll still write.  i have a passion for it, so i will.
Ms. carol said...
Feb. 6, 2011 at 3:16 pm
I love your honesty. Plan to show my 9th grade class your story. Thanks. I hope they comment and perhaps you'll have time to respond. Just keeping it real!!
Rachell said...
Feb. 5, 2011 at 5:44 am
Hello everyone! I ink I wrote this over two years ago, and to know that people are still reading and commenting on it really makes glad I did. For those who have taken the time to write also, I would LOVE to read your work because you have taken the time to read mine. I am sorry if I have missed yours in the past, but soon I will comment on your work if you've left a link or request in the comments. It may take me a while as I'm doing a lot of college related preparation. However, as soon as I j... (more »)
Daydreamish said...
Feb. 4, 2011 at 10:42 pm

This was brilliant. Despite what you might say, this was one of the best things I've read on here for a long time.

Lately I've been feeling like that too. Writing used to be my favorite class, but now all we're doing is essays, no stories anymore, and the teacher is saying that she doesn't understand my point or the rhythm of my ideas. Well, it's like that because I'm bored. I'm bored and my words are forced, arguing cases I don't care about.

Write more. Write stories. Wr... (more »)

imrighthereyouknow said...
Jan. 28, 2011 at 7:15 pm
I love the last paragraph--obviously not because of the imagery, and the fact that it was very well written, but because of the message you're sending with it. The irony.
maryamb said...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 11:29 am
this is so brilliant, you're excellent.
NestingDoll said...
Jan. 22, 2011 at 2:56 am
This is so, so true. The honesty in this peice of writing was so clear that I think anyone would be able to understand how you feel, and any English teacher who doesn't recognise your skill knows nothing about their subject.
insomniac said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 7:31 am
this is lovely and true, i can relate to it in every way. you are wonderful and i thank you for writing this piece. i haven't wrote anything in a long time but you inspired me to write again.
Elizabeth_Day This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm
I used to feel the same way about sharing my work.  I still do.  They're each little pieces of me.  They're something so close to my heart that it's frightening to let anyone else see.  I finally worked the nerve up to show my family and some friends a short story I wrote.  It's on here, but they all said the same things.  "Oh, Lizzy.  It's really good."  How can I trust that?  They love me!  Of course they think it's "good," but what is it to an... (more »)
SapphireWing replied...
Jan. 22, 2011 at 8:34 am
Gosh that is soo true. I totally agree with you and the author.  I was reall afraid to show it to anyone at all because its was scary. I was scared of what they would say more worst what if some one happens to see my writing and steal it? I was afraid as if I could be gone by showing the piece of me. I still do, but I am trying to show it up. I even decided to post something on teen ink and I'm working on it.  Even though I'm scared since you know writing is part of you and something h... (more »)
Reason said...
Jan. 12, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Sometimes I just feel like I'm wasting my words when others don't understand my writing and it used to really affect me. From reading your work it makes me realize again why and for whom I write for.

Hey if you got some time just click my pic to check out some of my work!

Supergirl101 said...
Jan. 4, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Wow this is so warming and from the heart. It makes me realize how I love to write.
esteiner This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 24, 2010 at 11:51 pm
awesome!! i love this
AshleyMalfoy45 said...
Dec. 22, 2010 at 10:45 am
There's a lot of things I wish I could say about this article, but I don't believe I have the space. But it was very true, very from the heart, and means a lot to not just me, but all the writers out there writing out of love and pure enjoyment. Wonderful article.
loveshot said...
Dec. 8, 2010 at 12:56 pm

i really like this article. can really relate to it in so many ways. i enjoyed it and wish to read more. goodbye for now


bluebel304 said...
Dec. 4, 2010 at 6:18 pm

This is absolutely brilliant. When I read the title and started the first paragraph, I thought that this would be just another badly-written story about how great you are at writing, but the more I read the more I realized this is far more than that. I completely agree with you. Your writing isn't "conventional", your structure isn't perfect, your grammar is a bit off, but the words overflow with depth all the same. I can tell that you truly mean what you are writing.


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