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The first time i've written for a long time


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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 351 comments. Post your own!

ELMtree said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 9:41 am:
Strong idea; the presentation is too rambling, though, to portray that strength concisely. Try revising and condensing.
 
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Pacwerdna said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 9:38 am:
Great job - I feel the same way about your view on writing for numbers. I find myself doing the same thing, especially in this year's AP Literature and Composition, where assignments are graded on a very detailed scale. Also, the ending was a great way to show that the potential still lies in everyone.
 
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anncola said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 9:38 am:
My current English teacher also has that nasty habit of sucking the personality out of writing.  The foundation of this is solid, it's a little rough around the edges... With some revising, it could make an awesome college essay.
 
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turnip said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 9:37 am:
neat piece, strong voice
 
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barrmar said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 9:36 am:
I have always wanted to be a writer, as far back as I can remember. But I have felt the same way about the "required" format of writing that stifles any opportunity to be creative and express my true feelings. The essays that take a very blunt and factual point of view on topics that I have no meaningul opinion about have made me lose my passion for writing. This summer I started writing for myself. And it feels good. 
 
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nabbi316 said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 9:35 am:
While reading this, I kind of felt what you were saying because so many of us feel this way. You focused a lot on how the words were yours, but they are gradually morphing into your English teacher's. I thought it was very relatable, if that is in fact a word, to most people. I also enjoyed it. In addition, at the end, I like how you end it. But at the same time, I feel like it ends to abruptly. That may have been your intention. I don't know. Maybe if you included one last sentence to end it. B... (more »)
 
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Aarika said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 9:34 am:
I thought what you wrote was very heartfelt. The way you explained how you felt really made me realize the passion you have. I, too, have a passion for writing, but I have never had experiences quite as dramatic as this. When I read this, I wasn't counting words or comparing sentences. I was seeing the world through your eyes, feeling it through your heart, and no number can be written on the top of a paper to change that. Thank you.
 
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michalina48 said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 9:34 am:
there are definitely ways i can relate to this. feeling vulnerable and not good enough. when i look at my friends' writings and theirs is much better than mine i get discouraged, but i try to remind myself my writing style is much different than theirs, and that's never been a bad thing.
 
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green said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 9:33 am:
I love what you've said here.  Everything I write is structured perfectly for school.  Last year, I wrote without structure for the first time in years and remembered how great it felt.  Too bad that can't be accepted everywhere.
 
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fred said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 9:32 am:
Your message is one that many teens can relate to.  I am a teacher of writing and writing a book myself now.  Many students in English class, especially at the high school level, feel as you do.  Reach out and find publications/contests that appeal to you on your own and write from your heart about what matters most to you, as you have done here.  Good luck!
 
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cara blane said...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm:
I am a writer and am still afraid that if I show anyone, they will disregard it.  I hate that people are so critical, yeah know?  Anyway, great story!!! you should keep on writing and maybe even think about being an author!!
 
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rachell said...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 7:41 am:
Hey Beatle's fan! This wasn't a college essay, though I'm starting to think it might as well be! I'm writing my college essays now and it's so fustrating. Good in year 7. It got easy for me when I figured I could separate school from pleasure.
 
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windigo said...
Sept. 12, 2010 at 12:10 pm:

I felt like someone was writing a story about me when I read your piece. When I was little I used to write poems instead of doing the copy work that was required; I told everyone I would be a writer. Then I went through middle school, and highschool. I've realized I don't have anything to say to anyone, because they already know what they want to hear. I never share my heartfelt writing anymore.

Write for yourself. Write for me and the 237 other people who have read this and want to re... (more »)

 
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alisprt101 said...
Sept. 7, 2010 at 10:44 am:
Loving the last paragraph... almost put me to tears. ( in a good way). 
 
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DreamingOutLoud This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 6, 2010 at 6:48 am:
I've been there, and know how you feel. But please, please never give up writing from your heart. The world would be a cold, barren place if this kind of beauty, like the on in your heart, wasn't brought out.
 
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GemValley250 said...
Aug. 30, 2010 at 11:11 am:
Love it! I love how your spreaded your emotions onto the page!
 
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BookFan said...
Aug. 30, 2010 at 3:44 am:
I think, that the main thing is to find this "Golden Middle" in your writing. And when you'll find it , you'll be a great writer !!!                                                  I'm sure you will find.
 
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Crystal_Colossae said...
Aug. 28, 2010 at 9:40 am:

Wow, excellent!  I know it's been mentioned, but writing from your heart is really the most important thing about writing.  It's been said that the true artist need only please himself (or herself :) ), and writing is certainly an art.  Keep it up!  Being able to express yourself in a unique way that is relatable is what a great writer does, no matter what method.

~Crystal ;)

 
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BeatleMania16 said...
Aug. 26, 2010 at 7:14 pm:
this is amazing how similarly i feel! after only 2 years of real english classes (i'm in 7th grade) i feel how conformed my writing has become. happens to me all the time. BRAVO!! i hope you get into the college you were writing for, you deserve it!!! (that was a college essay, right??)
 
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rainonroses said...
Aug. 26, 2010 at 8:53 am:
I loved this! Great writing, and I can relate. I went through an extensive writing program one year in school, came away from it, and didn't write harldy at all for two whole years! I felt too much like I had to fit my writing into a mold to write for pleasure. All the pleasure in writing had been taken away. I have been feeling the pressure lately to write according to form in order to be accepted. This almost perfectly describes how I feel
 
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