In life, we all need some sort of a release in order to get through every day stress and frustrations. Whether it is driving with music blaring loudly on our car radio, hitting a golf ball on a tee as hard as we possibly can, or going to a day spa for much needed relaxation, life gives us all certain moments that make us seek outside help in order to simply get by without going completely insane. In my case, writing has been – and, really, always will be – my release.
When I was young, we lived miles away from the private school I attended as well as the other kids that were my “friends.” I added the quotes since, looking back, they simply were there to attend school with me. Really though, I would call them my acquaintances today. As far as actual friends, I had my older brother, Jeff. He was a great friend to me growing up, sure, but he was older and, obviously, a boy so there were a lot of things that I simply could not share with him. Still, he was my buddy. We went to movies together, we played ball together, we rode our bikes together. Family vacations consisted of the four of us – my parents were still married back then – usually spending our time in the family camper in Maine visiting my grandparents as well as several aunts and uncles that lived “Downeast”. Those were great times that I look back on with a smile. But times change, people die, and, of course, we grew up. The biggest turning point occurred when my brother joined the Air Force at 19. I was 15. The buddy that was my constant companion growing up was suddenly gone, off to basic training and then off to Europe for two straight years.
For two long years we did not see Jeff. We had the occasional phone call – when he could get them in – and the letters. He wrote us about life in Germany, about his trips around the European countryside and the cities he visited. We received pictures and small trinkets that offered comfort while we missed him and also showed how quickly he was becoming a man, far away from home. Me? I had nothing. Well, I had my little dog who was my best friend. Still, it wasn’t the same as having my brother home with me. I quickly became more dependent upon my mother. Family members – aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. – often mocked me for my closeness with her. “She’ll never become anything of value the more she hangs on your apron strings!” they would say to her. It was hard for me. I wanted to have friends but the few classmates I liked lived several towns away. My parents were never wealthy. So, gas prices and “wear and tear” on the car were important concerns. Besides, they spent all they had to make sure I had a really amazing education. Everything else came second to that, including their own needs and happiness. Aside from the occasional times when I did get to see my classmates outside of school, my best friend became my writing.
I didn’t just write in diaries. In fact, I never wrote in a diary. To me, to write in a diary meant that I would have been simply writing about my daily mundane life. What’s the fun in that? Instead, I wrote about the day I WISHED that I was having. I invented technology that would allow me to see Jeff wherever and whenever I wanted to and, of course, that same technology would get me home in time for dinner. I wrote of wild baby foxes that would play with me as if they were human and would talk to me in a language meant only for me. I wrote of trips to far away lands where the oceans were clean and blue and filled with Orca whales! Don’t laugh but I would often write of being with characters on Star Trek, traveling to distant galaxies, and fighting intergalactic bad guys. More often than anything though, I wrote to Jeff and told him how much I missed him and how our parents missed him because I knew that having me around just wasn’t the same. When he finally came home after two years away I put aside my writing for a while, content with simply having him home.
While I may have stopped creating stories at that time, I did not stop writing entirely. I turned to poetry as a form of fast release. Whether I was inspired simply by looking at the love my dog showed in his eyes, or feeling at one with nature during some backwoods walk, or letting my closeness to God manifest itself in a poem, poetry became an easy way to release the creativity that sometimes bursts its way into my subconscious. That “burst” can come on me when I least expect it. It feels almost like an addiction sometimes, as if the need to write something, anything, will eat away at me until I sit down and write the words that well-up inside me. Alcoholics have a craving for liquor and drug addicts have a chemical dependency that needs to be satiated. Meanwhile, I have my writing.
When I started my college career, I was directionless. The only thing that I was sure of was my ability to write. I remember receiving research paper back that had been graded for my American literature class at Naugatuck Valley Community College. My professor paused before handing mine back and said, “Somewhere along the way you learned how to write.” That comment alone made me feel so proud. A few years later when I took the placement exams for Western, the college called me. They told me at that time that I had scored one of the highest grades ever on the placement exam. It felt nice to hear a type of affirmation for my writing ability. I continued to hear it throughout my undergrad studies.
Every class that I had during my bachelor’s degree program that had a writing requirement made me feel at ease. Why? Because I believed in my ability to write. The only thing that I lack, in my opinion, is direction. It took me over twenty years to finish my bachelor’s degree since I never could decide what I wanted to do. I graduated in August, 2015, which a concentration in psychology. Psychology was chosen partly because I enjoyed the subject matter but mainly because the classes were writing intensive. Once again I relied on my writing. I am proud to say that my writing helped me graduate with honors.
My dream since I was a little girl writing stories that basically became my friends was to entertain others that might feel the same way that I did back then. It took many years for me to open up, to climb out of my shell, and to show the world that I have a lot to offer. The ultimate goal would be to write a novel but I would certainly be happy writing magazine articles or literary reviews. I have even dabbled in writing short stories for children.
I hope that in telling you a little bit about myself and my background has helped to show you in some way my writing ability. My style, like my nature, is somewhat private but also it is a style that wants to be let lose into the professional writing world. This blog is my opening foray into open creative expression.