Saturday, March 10, 2012

Used to Be

I used to think of myself as a pretty good writer. Even though my theatre professor in college once told me to stop copying the writing style of one of my best friends. Even though it's never really amounted to anything. I'd read what I'd written with some semblance of satisfaction. 

I was selected to read a few of my haikus during the Writer's Symposium. That, coupled with the performance of my Crisis piece for a grant my director needed, prompted an English professor to tell me, "Thank you. I really love your art. It's so moving." That was music to this mostly left-brained artist's soul. I know, I know, you can't be a left-brained artist. I've heard. And I've tried more than once to manipulate the quizzes so that I come out right-brained. That's how desperate I am. That's how much I long to be creative instead of analytical. The professor said it in passing--I'm sure he never gave it another thought--but I won't forget it. 

To be recognized for my art, to know that someone noticed, was a moment of pure satisfaction. I'd spent the better part of three years being put to good use. Not many left-brained people grace the actor's entrance of a theatre. We're good for stage managing and production managing and anything else with the word "managing" attached to it. Except costumes. Whatever you do, don't let us near the costumes. So, while I'd learned a great deal in my classes and been given the opportunity to perform a couple of times, there was still a left-brained artist begging to express herself beyond making sure that we didn't exceed the budget for a particular show.

I turned to writing.

It was easy enough to do given that I was working toward--although never quite finishing--a second major in English Education. My time was spent alternating between the theatre and the LJML (Literature, Journalism & Modern Languages) building. I just loved every chance I got to write--especially creatively. And no one there told me to stop trying to copy my friend's voice. One of them did tell me to get back together with my ex-fiance and go to counseling but that's kind of beside the point. It's also a good example of why we don't listen to everything our college professors tell us.

I always received high marks when writing was involved. Feedback was nearly always positive. My freshman composition professor called me in to his office to ask, bewildered, how it was that I couldn't diagram a sentence. After we'd hashed that out he asked me where I'd gone to school. When I told him, he suggested that I go home and thank my educators for teaching me how to write so well.

I used to think of myself as a pretty good writer. I had a thousand ideas just waiting to paint the page.

Now I stare at a blank screen, with the cursor flashing, and wonder where all of that went. And I usually just end up posting a picture.

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