Hey there people!
I had was at a restaurant the other day, and I'd just finished my meal, and decided to whip out my notebook. With nothing in particular in mind, I started jotting down options for my New Year's Resolution, along with the pros and cons. Among them, I put down "Writing" as a skill I should improve next year.
You may not know this, but back in high school, I had this dream of becoming a writer. I guess it's still there, in the back of my mind somewhere. It all started with a project we had back in 9th grade, I think it was, where we were supposed to write a novel. I thought the one I wrote was awesome (as teenagers are bound to think about their own creations), and my teachers seemed to agree to an extent; they kept asking me for the next chapter, not to meet the deadline but because they were curious of what happened next. Since then I'd write a story or two every month or so, got into writing fanfiction, started up and then expanded my personal book collection.
Thinking about that English assignment reminded me of an essay they had us make in English class, entitled "My Trip to Outer Space." Looking back on it now, I think it was rather creative, compared to what other kids would have (and indeed did) come up with. It was wildly imaginative, with clever uses of common English idioms and phrases, and somehow managed to keep a coherent flow and structure. It ended up on the school bulletin (which nobody read), which was quite a surprise for me.
As I sat alone in the smoking area of that restaurant (I started smoking again recently, though not nearly as heavily as I used to), notebook on the table, twirling my pen in my fingers, I couldn't help but smile to myself, a mixture of pride and nostalgia in my chest. I thought to myself, I was one crazy kid back then, and wondered when and how it all started. As the question mark barely formed itself, my mind began the process of selecting the appropriate memories to answer. It goes as such:
A little boy sat in his classroom, thinking to himself. The other children had already begun writing their "essays," a term that was still unfamiliar to the boy. Having returned a scant year or two from living overseas, he still hadn't entirely mastered his own mother tongue -- indeed, when he spoke to his friends, English words and phrases would occasionally pop out if he didn't think about it.
" What are you writing about?" He heard one of the children ask.
"I don't know yet." He said, "What are you supposed to write about?"
"I don't know, anything, I guess." said his friend. And with that, he turned back to his paper.
The little boy turned to his own paper, blank, save for his name and class number. Although he could read perfectly well for his age, writing was still something new to him. His parents had never taught him much on how to write (this, he would find later in life, was the main reason he had horrible penmanship. Or at least that's what he tells himself), or mention what to write in an "essay."
The teacher had told them that they could write about things they liked. He had gotten a Sega earlier that year, and he really liked it, so that's what he decided to write about. In a sense. He wrote about the games he played alone, the games he played with his sister (her presence beside him as he sat in front of the TV, controller in hand, went on to become a treasured experience throughout his gaming life) the games he wanted to play, and the games he wanted to make when he grew up.
He ended up writing two full pages of the essay sheet handed to them, and was told off by the teacher for adding drawings to a text-only essay. However, the only recollection he would have about the experience years later, with more experience in writing but equally terrible handwriting was that
It was awesome. The feeling of thoughts flowing from your mind to your hand, forming words from images, images from words. Back in elementary school, I had no idea what an essay was, or how to even form one. Looking back on it now, I feel like that was a fortunate thing, because it saved me from the dogmatic view of how normal grade-schoolers would have defined an essay. It freed me from those limitations, allowing me to form my own definition and ideas of it, and have a frickin great time working on it.
I'm not saying I was a particularly good writer, I'm saying I really loved the experience of writing, and thankfully so did some of my friends (to whom I showed my writing). In the end, isn't that what's important? Doing what you love, loving what you do, all that jazz. Along the way, if you can be useful, be helpful to other people, then it's all the better.
What do you guys think? What gets you going in life?