Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Accentuate Writer's Challenge: Why I Write.

I'm late to the party, but I'll do this anyway. The challenge is simple, write about the first time you felt like you were a writer.

I don't remember what grade it was, but one of my junior high school English teachers somehow inspired me to go home and write a short story. It was probably one of our assignments, but it was just too long ago now to remember. I also do not remember asking her to read the work or even if I actually handed it in for credit. What I do remember is her coming to my desk with my story and telling me how good it was.

Apparently that is all it took for me.

Somewhere I still have my first three short stories packed away somewhere with other odds and ends from my past, but it's been so long since I even accidentally ran across them it is quite possible that they've been tossed.

One was a sci-fi story about an attempt at establishing a colony on an alien world and the doom that engulfed it.

Another was more sci-fi but tinged with horror about a young man walking alone one evening and encountering a stranger who professes to be an alien and also the young man's father...this one was very moody, lots of shivers in the dark and the scuttling of leaves...I like it. I remember reading it over on several occasions and transporting myself to that lonely, cold and dark place in the woods.

The third was ultra violent. It also had a sci-fi twist. The violence was inspired by a novel I read called The Blood of the Children by Alan Rodgers. I don't remember much about my story except that it was about an older sister who violently loathed her younger sister. The younger sister was largely hated by their mother also. So, there was this huge dramatic darkness within the younger sister and she was getting ready to do some very bad things. This was the longest of the three stories (about three times as long as the others) but I never finished it, didn't hardly start it really, but I was certainly proud of the endeavor.

Throughout the rest of Junior High and High School, when I wasn't starting stories that would never be finished, I was writing a lot of dark poetry. I was heavily inspired by heavy metal and the occult. My 10th grade English teacher in High School was impressed with one of my writing assignments and introduced me to the head of the High School English department who would go on to be my 11th and 12th grade English teacher, my Creative Writing and Modern Mythology teacher, and also my instructor for three years in the High School magazine course. It was through him that I would find my greatest motivation and also my greatest failure. He taught me to write about things that I know and observe rather than veiled copies of what I had read in the latest horror publications. Once I was elected to represent my High School for the literary arts in an annual regional competition, I forced my writing for the first time. I wanted to impress absolutely everyone that I could imagine. I did not write my entry for myself. I don't know if I would have won anything at that competition if I had done things differently, but I know now that I never gave myself the chance.

I'm 34 now and still have problems writing for myself. My blogs are my most current attempt to do just that though. I dabbled in freelancing to a couple of online article sites, but I just wasn't enjoying it. I gave NANOWRIMO a shot in 2008 and wrote two short stories for entry in the Accentuate Writer's Forum contests.

I am happy for my blogs though I am still unfulfilled. But at least I can say that I am still writing after all these years. It wasn't until I submitted my work to the Accentuate Writers Forum that I learned how bad my grammar is. Since then I've started college and am taking English refresher classes as part of my course study (electronics). Who knows, maybe I'll get something written (and finished) that I am happy with and is also well-written within the next year or two.
The sky's the limit!