Saturday, March 3, 2012

I Am a Writer, I Think...

Since deciding that I am a writer underneath this exterior that appears to be an ordinary wife and mother, I have attended a few workshops in an attempt to further my skill.  Today was one of those opportunities and I was able to attend a workshop called "Mining Your Life for Fiction", led by Lena Roy, author of Edges and granddaughter of Madeleine L'Engle.  In case you don't recognize grandma's name, she is probably best known for writing A Wrinkle in Time.  Lena was encouraging and inspiring and I came away believing in myself a little bit more! Well worth my twenty dollar investment in the three-hour afternoon workshop I'd say!

Let me tell you about the workshop, but first let me back up and tell you about my initial encounter with Lena.  Thursday night she was our speaker at the Mobile Writer's Guild meeting and she spoke about a number of things, but one message stuck out for me.  To paraphrase that message, no writer is really any better than another.  Now some may have more technical skill, or write more eloquent prose than another, but we all have a story to tell. And if in your heart you feel you are a writer, then who is to tell you that you aren't? That may not be exactly what Lena said, but it is the essence of her message that I took home with me on Thursday night.

I guess her message resonated with me because I can remember wanting to be a writer since I was a teen, but never quite feeling I deserved to think of myself in those terms.  After all, I have no college degree declaring me to be an English scholar, or anything that sounds like I am entitled to be a writer.  In fact, I have no degree at all.  But I do remember my English 101 teacher in my year or so of college, keeping me late one day to tell me I had no business in her class and that she was moving me to another more "advanced" and creative class.  I also remember in my senior year of high school, my English teacher encouraged me to enter one of my pieces in a contest because she felt I had real potential to win.  I didn't follow through on that and I have no idea why... probably I felt too exposed to share my writing with others at that point in time.  It still feels like standing on a stage naked even to write something as simple as this blog post.  But here I am these days, standing naked before you, my dear reader, declaring myself to be a "writer".  After all, if Lena Roy can stand before me and say "I am a writer" when she grew up in the shadow of her prize-winning writer grandmother (although Lena never indicated she felt she was in her grandmother's shadow, I just think I would have felt that way), then surely I too can say, "I am a writer".

OK, so I haven't told you about the workshop, but you know what? I've decided not to tonight.  Sorry, perhaps tomorrow I'll share with you my thoughts about the workshop, especially the librarian I met and what made me chuckle about her.  I think it will make you chuckle too!