When people ask me, ‘What do you do?’ I always tell them ‘I’m a writer.’ I’ve never been paid for it, but I’ve written millions and millions, (maybe billions and billions?), of words over the years. Those words have appeared in school papers and personal correspondence, newsletters and academic journals, poems presented as gifts and various other venues, but until almost six years ago, I didn’t consider myself a ‘real writer.’
That all changed in late March of 2004, when the images just beneath my consciousness demanded to be given voice, and I began to ‘seriously’ write–although I’ve certainly had a lot of FUN doing it. Those first few days I got hardly any sleep, I was so excited to meet the characters forming beneath my fingertips. It was a high like none I’d ever felt, before or since.
I’ve learned in these six years that the actual work of writing isn’t a constant high–sometimes it is agony–but I cannot imagine a life without it now. Writing, even when I am chipping away at some difficult buried emotion, or embedded in research about and obscure event that happened before I was even born, has become as essential to me as breathing. And although I have had to make sacrifices, sometimes causing suffering and disappointment to others, as well as myself, these are offerings I’ve felt I HAD to make. For my art, or for my sanity, I’m not sure which.
It is what I do. It is who I am.
I am a writer.