I’ll begin at the moment when my love for writing first started: fourth grade, Mrs. Hartman’s class, close to the end of my day. It was time for “free period.” It was my favorite time of the day, not only because it rarely happened, but it meant I was able to work on my next great story (as great as the story of a ten year old can be, of course).
It’s easy to remember the bustle of the classroom, one motherly figure standing at the front, her short black hair gelled out in different directions, pointing her knowing fingers around the room, calling our attention to the many different activities to focus on—there were books, board games, crafts, or the writing table located behind the desks, dead center. I made sure I rushed to grab my blue, wide ruled notebook, hurrying as fast as my small legs could carry me to that table. I sat in my favorite seat, the one closest to the door that lead to the play ground, and flipped to my last used page. I don’t remember exactly what I was writing about but one story involved the Easter Bunny as a dastardly villain, while another centered around a raft trip gone wrong.
My hand writing was more of a scrawl, all long lines and out of control swirls. Even then, my brows would knit in concentration and I would lean forward, long blonde hair drifting across the paper; the pencil would scratch across the white surface, often times being crossed out or erased because I didn’t like the way the words sounded or looked. It seems as though I was picky from the start. No matter how many mistakes I made though, I loved it.
By the end of free period, the noise of the classroom would rise again, waiting for our teacher to call us back to order, her clear voice ringing out through the air. I made sure to have her read my stories once a week, checking to see what she thought. Mrs. Hartman always made sure to stamp my stories with her favorite one, something that said “good work” or “A+” in a green ink that smelled like apples.
It is this moment I look back on whenever I am feeling my creativity has dried up or when I don’t feel inspired to write anymore. These were moments filled with passion and excitement, one that I will never forget. While writing isn’t always fun (thinking the generic essay or research paper) I remind myself to think of how I felt about it when I was ten years old, sat at that table in a chair that would be far to small for my body now, scrawling out the next best thing to come across my mind. I take that moment and apply it to myself whenever I write a new idea down or press forward in my ever changing novel. Writing is meant to be fun. It is meant to be creative. It is meant to have passion and to make your heart race at the thought of making something new. This memory, one of the first of my touchstone moments, reminds me of what it means to be a writer as well as what it means to love your writing.
I remind myself every day to never lose the fun, creative, and passionate side my younger ten year old self had, every time she was able to write.