Monday, March 30, 2009

First Blog

Since this is my first blog, I want to say straight out: don’t feel compelled to read any of this. I, myself, have read very few blogs, and while I am impressed by the themes and subject matter people expound on, I am more impressed how they actually find the time to jot down these thoughts to make themselves understood. I hope that my blogging will act as a warm-up exercise for the many projects on the back burner that have been simmering way too long.

Firsts are exciting, yet firsts can be very scary, even after kindergarten. Actually, I never attended kindergarten and therein lay the problem. I went from nursery school straight to the first grade, becoming the youngest of my classmates, which had advantages, but only as I was about to graduate high school. I could date the senior boys who most of my girlfriends thought were idiots or babies; I had a whole extra year to learn they were absolutely right.

The Beginning

The uncertainties of childhood, simple pleasures that were quickly invaded by fear became my motivation for writing. I often felt as though whatever was happening was happening just to me. I wondered who could possibly understand what it was like to be inside my skin? And then I began to read. Reading became my great escape. Our town’s wood- shingled library resembled a one room schoolhouse. To enter through the red painted door was like entering a womb, especially on the days I might have been teased or disappointed by a friend. I can still picture the cramped, cluttered interior, the faces of the other regulars, some were the school losers. Was I one of them too? I’d spend hours perusing the shelves, sniffing the inside covers smelling the sappiness of paper, the slight chemical smell of printer’s ink.

I was drawn to biographies or stories about young people from different cultures and countries. I could lose myself completely, disappear, become someone else, if only for a few days. I devoured every book on Lincoln, Ben Franklin, Clara Barton, and then there was the martyr─ my favorite: Joan of Arc. Somewhere in my young mind, I filed away the important virtues of working hard, of doing well and sacrifice.

But whenever I attempted to write anything, a poem or short story it presented itself as longing. As a teenager, I was motivated by desperation and anger often scribbling cryptic messages inside the petals of the ivy and rose pattern of my bedroom wallpaper, praying not to be found out─ yet, really feeling just the opposite.

I was the only daughter in a small split-level house with two feisty younger brothers, a traveling salesman Dad, and a gin-playing, party girl, Mom. In the sloping attic tower that became my room, I felt invisible. Reading kept me company, and taught me about the diversity of people’s lives. This helped widen the borders of the narrow world I inhabited and freed my imagination.


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