There was a time when I wasn’t a writer, but I think it was before I was eight or nine years old. Something must have been obvious to my parents, for it was about that time my printing-business-owner father brought home a paperbound blank-page book that he had assembled for me to write my own mystery story.
But even then, writing remained something I did in school. In high school, I had a tendency to turn to creative writing, “creative” in terms of parody and satire. But I never thought of writing as a possible career. I was going to be the doctor my father had wanted to be until the Great Depression cut short that dream.
Two semesters of college chemistry, and the prospect of 13 more hours in chemistry for the pre-med curriculum, convinced me that practicing medicine was not my future. I also had this bent toward English, literature and history, especially literature, but they didn’t seem to offer much in the way of a career, at least as my father saw it. “Look,” he said, “at least do something practical. If all else fails, try journalism.”
All else didn’t necessarily fail, but journalism offered the practical training my father was looking for and a huge number of free electives, which allowed me to add whatever looked interesting in the way of history and literature courses.
A life pivots on such a simple statement from a father. My dream wasn’t to be a reporter or editor, but journalism would allow me to use words and possibly even be paid for it. By the end of my freshman year in college, I was learning that I enjoyed using words more than anything else I could think of.
As Julia Cameron says in The Right to Write, “The act of writing, the aiming at getting it right, is pure thrill, pure process, as exciting as drawing back a bow…I love it when I write well, but I love it when I write, period.”
Over at the High Calling Blogs, we’re starting a discussion of Cameron’s The Right to Write. Laura Boggess is leading with her introductory post, "On Forgetting Myself." Take a look Monday and see what others are saying, commenting and posting.
L.L. Barkat's "Let Yourself Write" at Seedlings in Stone.
"Let's Write" by Nancy Kourmoulis at Treasures of Darkness.
Monica Sharman's "Book Club: The Right to Write" at My Big Three.
Louise Gallagher's "An automatic response" at Recover Your Joy.
Nancy Rosback's "Ready Set Go" at Poems and Prayers.
"Just Writing" by Erin Kilmer at Together for Good.
Cassandra Frear's "In the Quiet" at Moonboat Cafe.