Thursday, February 11, 2010

Do You Remember When? by DL Larson

Do you remember when you first realized you were a writer?

I've always enjoyed writing and worked for small newspapers as a correspondent, did some writing for local organizations and at church. I'd always been an avid reader and thought often about doing something with words. I was 36 before I took my desire seriously and went back to school. The classes weren't what I expected. Too many of the required courses had nothing to do with words and I felt my family was suffering for my whimsical need to see if I had what it took to become a writer.

Then, then it finally happened when I wasn't expecting it. The English professor had the class turning to a certain picture in the text book. We were to create a story from the picture. The whole class groaned at the face of an old woman in a black and white picture with a setting in the era of the 1930's. Her hands were dirty, her clothes unfashionable and her hair pulled back into a no nonsense style. The only redeeming fact was her hint of a smile.

A few weeks later the professor started reading some of the stories. Most were only a few paragraphs long and I realized I'd really over-done it. My story was four pages and it had little to do with the era of the days, or the hardship this woman must have lived through. I'd missed the target completely. I felt the complete fool and decided I didn't need to spend any more money on this foolishness of learning how to write. I'd even given the woman a name!

The professor started reading again and I cringed as my story of Sarah was shared. She'd gone blue berry picking up on the ridge. She reminisced about her family and how she missed her son gone now from the previous war and had decided to make his favorite dessert. But before she went home she wanted to use the new outhouse in the park. It had running water.

No one else had given the woman a name. No one else had looked for another reason for her dirty hands other than hard labor. No one had shared an insight to a simple delight as using a flush toliet. The professor wrote on my paper "interesting and intriguing." It was all I needed to keep writing, keep learning how to put one word with another in order to tell a story.

How about you? When did you know you were a writer?

Til next time ~

DL Larson

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