How much do I want to be a writer? That’s a question that keeps rolling through my mind. I used to think I wanted to be a journalist—then I got a glimpse of a journalist’s world through some of my college journalism classes. I don’t like high-stress situations, and I don’t like interviewing people . . . so how would I ever get the story?
I was one of the “technical” English majors—one who loved the grammar aspect but not so much the literary aspect. One of my best friends decided I should have been a math major because I loved the few math classes I took and only tolerated the lit classes. (My favorite college class? Probability & Statistics, which I took totally for fun my last semester.)
Advanced English Composition, really a fancy name for creative writing, was my most dreaded college class. I put it off until the 2nd semester of my senior year . . . and then I could put it off no more! Our first assignment was to write a first-person, present-tense account of something. I wrote about my thoughts on the first day of class (trust me, they weren't positive) . . . and got bit by the writing bug! I’d always told people that I’d like to edit because I didn’t have a book inside of me. I soon discovered that might not be entirely true—I just needed to be forced to be creative. During the class, I wrote two short stories--one about a girl who learns her boyfriend may be a serial killer, and the other about a woman who lost her husband on 9/11.
Since college, I've only dabbled in writing. I have a non-fiction book started, but as I haven't touched it in nearly a year, I'll be surprised if I ever finish it. Every so often, an idea will strike, and I'll sketch an outline or write a couple paragraphs, but nothing more. I've even considered going back to school to get my master's in creative writing, but it's not gone beyond some wishful thinking.
I've mentioned my new-found affinity for some country music. While station surfing in my car last week, I heard a song that caught my attention: "Every Other Weekend" by Reba McEntire and Kenney Chesney. The song was on the verge of being "too country" (can Reba be too country when Trisha Yearwood's not?), but the lyrics grabbed me. I looked up the video and was pulled in by the tragedy of it all. (Interesting tidbit: the couple in the video is portrayed by the actors who were Van and Cheyenne on Reba.) I started thinking about what could have gotten them to that point--divorced, sharing the kids, still in love with each other but unable to say it. Throughout the weekend, I kept thinking about it, creating a back story for the couple. I thought about writing something and even brainstormed names.
Last night, I couldn't sleep--I just couldn't turn my brain off. I started thinking about the story and the twist I'd cooked up. Finally, I got up and started writing. After an hour, I had 3 pages . . . then, I finally decided it was time to go to bed. It was strange how the words just came--that's how it happened in college when I was writing under a deadline. Anyway, I don't know if I'll finish the story or if anyone but me will ever see it, but it feels so great to be writing again!