The Write Way

I’ve long had a love/hate relationship with writing. I’ve gone through periods of my life where I did creative writing. I’ve craved the attention that writing brought me on occasion, but I’ve also shied away from said attention. I guess I’m a bit conflicted when it comes to writing. Even this blog has seen me go in spurts. I’ll go all-in for a few months (or longer) and write regular blog posts, and then I’ll not write a word for months on end.

In my last blog post, I challenged you to find something that scares you in your life and take a step in that direction. Fear tells us where we need to go, if we pay attention. Writing was what I chose to focus on.

Let’s talk about writing and what drives me.

When I look back at my younger years, I can say that I’ve always had a knack for writing. As early as in my elementary school days, I was praised for my writing. But being an introverted, lonely kind of kid, I didn’t always embrace the praise that came along with it. I was the “smart kid” in school. I often felt like I didn’t fit in, and, really I didn’t. I didn’t have many friends, and I was considered that geeky kid who wasn’t cool enough to be invited to birthday parties or other activities. I was friendly with everyone at school, but that was the extent of my connection with other kids.

I recall one particular writing assignment we were given in middle school. We were to write a descriptive paragraph about ourselves (or something to that effect). While I don’t recall all of the details of what I wrote, I do remember one part talking about a small scar that I have above my left eyebrow. I went on to describe it as a scar received due to an act of an impetuous child who was hit in the head when he pulled on a cord hanging off of a dresser that was attached to a lamp. The lamp hit me in the head and cut my forehead open. I wish I still had the paragraph that I wrote, but I only remember bits of it. The reason it stuck with me was that my teacher decided to read my paragraph out to the class as an example. Although he left it anonymous, I recall one of the kids just blurting out “That has to be Chris. Only the brain could write something that good.”

Despite being praised by my teacher, the fact that I was being singled out by some of the “cool” kids made me uncomfortable. I pulled up my hair off of my forehead (yes, I once had hair hanging down over my forehead!) and said, “do you see any scars?” Of course, had anyone actually taken a close look, they would have seen the small scar etched into my brow. I didn’t let them look long enough or close enough to see. I think it was the last time that teacher read any of my work openly in class. I had no reason to shy away from the acknowledgement, but as an awkward, geeky kid, I didn’t need more reason to feel alienated from the rest of the class.

Flash forward a few years, and I started writing for pleasure. In my teens, I was generally alone on nights and weekends. All of my friends were school friends. When the bell rang, everyone went off with their other friends, and I stayed by myself. One of my coping mechanisms was to go for walks. It was not unnatural for me to go walking five or six nights a week, sometimes for a couple of hours at a time. I’d put on my headphones, crank up my Walkman (eventually upgraded to a Discman), and just wander. While on these walks, I’d get ideas for stories that I’d “write someday”. I’d get home and jot down some of the ideas that I came up with. I wrote a few short stories based on some of these ideas; others are just outlines that I wrote out. I actually still have some of these ideas saved. Most make me cringe when I read them now, but at least I was writing and tapping into my creative energies.

Once I reached my university days, I started to embrace the writing more regularly. A big motivator for me came in the form of some Drama classes I took. My professor, Glen Nichols, encouraged my writing. Over the course of my time at the university, I wrote a few short one-scene plays to be staged during our faculty’s “Arts Week”. While I didn’t come up with anything enduring or groundbreaking, I was writing. Not only writing, but actually getting the plays staged. I usually ended up acting in them myself as well. Look at Chris! Stepping out of the shadows and into the limelight. I truly enjoyed all of it.

The piece that I am most proud of writing was one I co-wrote with my friend Pierre. We called it “Toboggan”. What I most enjoyed about this writing experience was how creative we were. I started writing on my own, and built a loose introductory piece based on some dialogue taken from a Billy Connolly routine. (I’ve included the video to that story at the bottom) Then Pierre and I started just writing and riffing. One of us would come up with a small scene, often with no relation to what we’d been writing, and then we’d just find some way to work it into the narrative of the story. A perfect example was I had been out shopping and came across a costume shop that sold random items, like a yellow Qing dynasty hat. I thought “I should put that in the story…” despite there being no logical reason a Chinese hat would fit into the story we were writing. But we made it work!

The hat was somewhat similar to this

I want to find that creative spark again. Maybe it was because I was writing with someone else, and we just made one another better. Maybe the pressure was lessened because I didn’t have to figure everything out myself. If I was drawing a blank, Pierre would find a way forward, and vice versa. We worked remarkably well together. Maybe I need to try finding that balance with someone again. (I’m looking at you little bro…)

Let’s pause here with this discussion. I’ll continue with this in my next blog post… stay tuned!

A hilarious story that sparked my creative juices flowing.

One thought on “The Write Way

  1. Pingback: The Write Way (part 2) – Musings of A Boxhead

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