When I was in grade school I was absolutely and thoroughly terrified of writing essays. English in general was such a foreign concept to me. English teachers seemed like they were hard to please. The thing that got to me was that, unlike math, there was no right answer!
English teachers seemed to me to be a weird lot. They dwelled in the meaningless. Or as I now know, they dwelled in what brought meaning to them and not to me. I felt alienated by the constant search for symbolism because it was being measured by some yard stick I did not create and could never see. I was never given an exercise that was to write about what I wanted to explore. Dammit! I want my own yardstick, not somebody else’s.
It never dawned on me then, that I could write about what interested me, what I felt. That I could express myself how I wanted to. That I don’t have to follow anybody’s rules. Thinking back there a few times when I was writing about my own interests that I lit up. There were a few teachers, like Mrs Russel, Mr. Petley, and most of all Mr James, that were kind to me. Jesus, they even believed in me.
Too bad it has taken all these years to get back to something that is so near to my heart, sharing my life through self expression. I want to write in order to share and connect. I want to write as if I am passing on my life’s thoughts to my boys who are now men. I want to write to just be me and to exist in this amazing world we live in. I want to write to capture a bit of life and to produce memories that will last as long as there is a reader to read them. Hell, I just want to write…
Inspired by a writing exercise from Dinty Moore’s Crafting the Personal Essay.