Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Handwriting On The Wall

Iamaw rit er.

Ia maw rite r.
I ama wri ter.
I am a writer.
They told me if I say it often enough, I’ll believe it. That it will become clear and obvious.
It’s harder than it looks.
There’s a sign above my desk in our home office that reads, “Until you spread your wings, you will have no idea how far you can fly.”  The sign above that one simply reminds me to “Dream sweet Dream.”
I keep buying the words of random writers, hanging them on my wall and hoping they’ll lead me to the Promised Land where humor drips effortlessly from my pen, and eloquence—does whatever eloquence does.
This might take a while.
I really love to write. It’s an open window to my soul. Geez, that sounds like an overused idiom, if ever I heard one, and not particularly original. Which, I suppose, is what makes it an idiom.
Sigh. See what I mean?
For some people, writing is a punishment. I blame school teachers for that. Remember how they made you stay in at recess at write one hundred times on the chalkboard, “I will not chew bubblegum in class”?
Not only did that give you writer’s cramp, but it totally popped your bubble. Sorry. Aren’t puns some kind of inferior humor?
Mrs. Fisher was the exception. She was my third grade teacher at Neil Cummins Elementary in Corte Madera, California, and I adored her. She’s the one who inspired me to love to write. She had a metal recipe box full of index cards on her desk. On every card was a title and, if we finished our work early, we could pull a random card out of the box and write a story to go along with the title.
It was magic.
Mrs. Fisher rewarded me with the privilege of writing. What a genius. But even more than that, she admired my stories and told me I was a good writer. Do you know what happens to a child when someone believes in them and tells them so?
Years later, I found myself sitting alone in a basement apartment, journaling and writing lengthy emails to friends about my husband’s recovery from heart surgery. It was therapy for me—a way to deal with the extreme stress we were under. Putting my feelings down on paper was soothing. Crafting words that reached the hearts of others was healing. One afternoon, one of those friends dropped by to check on my husband and me and, as he left, he told me,
“You need to keep writing. You’re good at it.”
And I believed him. I believed him because writing is healing for me, even if no one ever reads what I write. So I kept writing. Do you know what happens to an adult when someone believes in them and tells them so?
Right. Good for you. You’re keeping up.
So, I’m going to keep writing. Until my dreams come true. Until I see how far wings can take me. Until I believe for myself that I truly am a writer.
Thomas Edison once wrote, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”


  1. You ARE a writer, and a darn good one, too!

    1. Coming from a great writer and speaker like yourself, I am deeply touched. And also, awww - thanks!