Epiphanies

Absolute Certainty and Infinite Confidence

Creatures of literature by *BeatrizMartinVidal

Creatures of literature
by *BeatrizMartinVidal

When I was young, I used to fill notebooks with words.

When my mother found my secret stack (under the cupboard, inside a pile of garbage bags) she held them to the sunlight one by one and read each page with wide, disbelieving eyes. I stood there with clenched fists, watching her go through thousands upon thousands of words.

She cut my lunch allowance, which I was laundering to go towards my notebook addiction.

Not to worry: I learned how to use the computer instead. This is how I started typing over 80 words per minute.

Every day I felt this rising urge to achieve complete and utter bliss. I can only describe it as an overwhelming desire to write, and that full confidence that I could. I started out typing short stories copied from books. Lion King was the very first to be transcribed into MS-DOS. Eventually, I started typing out entire novels. As time progressed, I created my own.

Page after page of words. The only thing I remember from my childhood is sitting in the garden, writing words, and as I grew older, sitting alone in a room, in front of a computer screen typing out words.

I remember my friends yelling outside my window: “Ellise! When are you going to play?”

“Nope, gotta type,” was my reply.

When I was young I used to go through great lengths to quell my thirst for literature. I would sneak inside a library and try to borrow as many books as I could. I spent every lunchtime and recess in the library reading. I was the only person there. In retrospect I realize the librarian knew I had “borrowed” more books than I was allowed to because it was a very small library and I was its only customer. She smiled at me every time I left, even though I had books stuffed inside my shirt, inside my skirt, making me limp as I walked past.

I began selling my stories to get even more books. Eventually the teachers had to sit me down and told me I was in trouble for taking other students’ lunch money. I told them: “But they’re buying my stories.”

“Well, you’re not allowed to sell your stories.”

“So how am I supposed to buy books?” I asked, horrified.

“You’ll need to figure something else out.”

Now that I’m older, I’ve learned to quell this desire. Even though I thought of stories, I kept them inside, controlled, and had the patience to wait until after my commute to write them down. Of course, it never happened — by the time I got home, I’d be way too tired from work, that all I would want to do is sit down, watch TV, stories and ideas long forgotten.

Sometimes, I’d sit down, stare at my computer screen, forcefully will myself to write, only to be hindered by self-doubt and criticism: What’s the point? It’s too gimmicky. This is too much of a sell-out piece. Way to add to the cliche train. And before I knew it, I had paralyzed myself into immobilism, infinitely frozen into standstill, stories and ideas quelled and quenched by insecurity.

I find myself walking through bookstores and staring longingly at books I want to read. I devise a million reasons why it’s better I don’t read them all: full-time job, no time, no point. I try to make myself feel better that I did the right thing: you saved your money, now you can spend it on something else. Like phone bills. And rent.

And instead of feeling happiness inside bookstores, all I feel is loneliness, and that sinking realization that I will never have enough time to read all of these books, nor the mind to understand and remember them.

Ultimately, I think, I’d rather be the literature-addicted child who stopped at nothing to be transported into the world of words without any regard to the consequences that followed, instead of the responsible adult with a full-time job who walks into bookstores wistfully, hoping she could read all the books ever written and wanting so badly to participate and give back with words of her own some day.

The addiction is still there: the only thing that faded through time is certainty.

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201 thoughts on “Absolute Certainty and Infinite Confidence

  1. As we all become adults, what begins to distinguish us from childhood is the ability to know how much is too much and what is not enough. Naturally, kids don’t know limits. While too much candy can make your stomach hurt, I can’t imagine daily life without the choice to fill the mind with words and images, ideas and images that are healthy and soothing to the soul. These things can challenge thinking in a positive way. Perhaps, challenge yourself to read and gather energy from words that are more specific to your life. Many choices. Best of luck in your discerning moments.

    • Thank you Andy, for taking the time to comment and letting me know what you think. I find your advise comforting and I will take up the challenge of reading and writing every day. Thank you for inspiring me.

  2. marlboropoet says:

    Thank you for reminding me why I’m alive. This is a gorgeous little story – I hope you find the confidence to go on with it one day – I’d buy your book.

  3. I’ve always been a bookworm, too. I remember picking out really thick books to get me through the weekend or vacations because I would zip through short ones too quickly. That’s how I first tried Stephen King and William Faulkner. I read everything. Now I’m trying to put my own words down and loving it.

    • AH! Stephen King — I remember reading “Carrie” back when I didn’t even know what menstruation was — suffice to say I was deeply confused. From King to Faulkner — you really broadened your reading! Good luck on creating your own world, from one Faulkner fan to another, you can absolutely do it! Much love.

  4. Excellent, excellent post. I too used to get in trouble for taking too many books from the library, stuffing them into files and notebooks and sneaking them out. I was devastated when I got to high school and there was an alarm on the door to prevent the likes of me from over borrowing….god forbid students should want to read too many books!

    • I completely agree! My high school had the same alarm system — imagine my embarrassment when I beeped! I remember my high school librarian giving me that look, as if she was making a show of searching my bag and getting me into trouble. She gave me books while I was in class instead. Thank heavens for understanding teachers πŸ™‚

      Thank you for letting me know what you thought of my post! I really appreciate it.

  5. This is beautiful and wonderfully written. I adore your mind already. I remember being that child who wrote up other people’s stories on my mother’s typewriter! Thanks for sharing this and congrats on being freshly pressed. Keep writing.

    • Thank you! I’m so happy I wasn’t the only one re-typing stories just so I can be near words! And ah, a typewriter! Wish I had one of those. Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it.

  6. Aw, I am sorry that you feel that way. I hope you find the certainty again. I often feel insecure about my writing, but I have made a commitment to myself to keep at it because I enjoy it and want it so badly. Sometimes, I feel I was more responsible as a child and am now carelessly writing when I could be doing a better paying career path. I really have my husband to thank for that though and I also know that I am not really irresponsible, but I do feel that sometimes I am being silly to turn away sure opportunities for the chance to write! I do hope that you do not let that desire fade away – keep at it!!
    Blessings πŸ™‚
    -Jen
    http://thelilyandthemarrow.wordpress.com/

    • Hi Jen,

      It’s a struggle, isn’t it? Especially now that I’m in my 20’s, and everyone is getting a career and I’m still dilly-dallying away with my stories, I feel insufficient every time I’m at a party and people ask what I do, or what I studied in school. “Literature” doesn’t seem to be the answer they approve of. But not everyone understands that strong need to read and write. I think it’s a much greater risk to postpone what we truly want out of life, on the assurance that we would have the freedom to buy us time later. There is something essential in documenting the narrative of our lives, so keep on writing, because your words are your gift to the world.

      Thank you for reading my post πŸ™‚ Much love.

  7. Beautiful!
    You captured the unfortunate reality of what happens to many children who aspire to be writers, or who at least have a passion for it, me included.
    I was also that child, hiding books in her laps, and filling notebooks of stories and words. I loved to read, and I think that one of the saddest realisations that I have recently made is that I currently hate writing. I recently started a blog to help rediscover what I once loved, and probably (deep in my heart somewhere) still do, and I just want to tell you that this beautiful piece of yours has inspired me.
    Please post when you write a book because I will definitely read it!

    • thank you so much for your support! The image of children hiding books and filing notebooks with stories is suddenly stronger, I didn’t realize others had the same childhood as mine. It makes me feel less lonely. I’m so happy I inspired you, you’re an inspiration to me as well…

      Writing is an ugly mistress, our love for it is what makes us hate it so. Never give up on your words! It’s your chance at immortality. Lots of love.

  8. Join me on a journey to recapture the confidence and passion of our youth and temper it with wisdom. A wonderfully written post and well deserved “freshly- pressed”.

  9. I have two friends who work full time and have a family and extra curricular activities but still find time to write and are both successfully published authors. One writes for an hour before he leaves for work in the morning. The other writes after work and on weekends. Giving ourselves permission to do what we love best can be strangely revitalizing.

    • Thank you! I shall keep that in mind. Exhaustion really isn’t an excuse, and this post proves it! I’m glad I allowed myself to write my thoughts, because it allowed me to see a whole community who felt the same way. Thank you for reading πŸ™‚

  10. I feel like I just read about my own life! It’s such a struggle to suppress something you have so much passion about because the world wants you to “get on with your life.”

    • What they don’t realize is that lives are made of different worlds, and ours is full of literature. Don’t let the passion die, if there’s one thing that came out of this post, is the realization that we’re all together in this. Thank you!

  11. ceruleanstarshine says:

    Keep writing, even if you’re exhausted and you think its crap, or gimmicky. Hit the library and check out as many books as you can, read them everywhere. I read in my car, in the bathroom, while snuggling my daughter to sleep at night, and I write when I get five minutes even if I think what I’ve written is utter tripe.

    I loved this post!

    • Awww, thank you! Funny thing is I cringed right after I hit “publish” on this post because I thought it was cliched, depressing and, like you said, “utter tripe”. I didn’t realize that the unedited truth is what will resonate with the rest of the world, not the stories we filter to protect ourselves.

      Thank you for the encouragement – I only hope I did the same for you.

  12. themodernidiot says:

    haha You little story pusher! Hustlin’ words on the playground for cash. That is classic writer. And don’t worry, Certainty is always there, waiting and warm like a little, patient ember. Just waiting for its buddy, Time, to return.

    The reunion is going to be amazing.

    In the meantime, it’s the digital age, get a voice recorder. Certainty hangs around even when you think it left, but Memory? Naw. Memory empties your wallet, and splits on you in the middle of the night-never to be heard from again.

    Get it all down while you can.The words matter more than the medium.

    thanks for touching the hearts of all of us book-hogs. we so totally get it.

    • Thank you for reading! I’m glad my early hustling days can be chalked down to just being a “classic writer”.

      I’m glad I’m not the only book-hog in this world, I was starting to feel alone in my obsession πŸ™‚

      PS. Love your blog! Your humour is so relatable! xoxo

  13. I felt that way for about thirty years. Then I finally found a friend or two who encouraged me to let my writing breathe. So glad they did or I’d still feel lost and voiceless. I hope you find a way to do the same and in a shorter time span that it took me.

    • I believe your comment as well as the rest in this post has inspired me to keep going. I’m so happy you found your voice again through your friends. A sense of community is so important, as writing is such an isolated activity.

      thank you for reading πŸ™‚

    • Thank you. I didn’t realize it was a struggle until you called it so — I think accepting the struggle makes it easier for me to continue, so thank you πŸ™‚

  14. better to be a literary addict as against something else. the zeal of the childhood is often lost to the logic of the adulthood but i know someday the heart does conquer it all and we do end up doing what we’ve always wanted. may you get the edge back and yes, do keep writing – it is refreshing. good luck and congratulations!

  15. I can definitely appreciate this.. I used to write and blog when I was younger, but got made fun of in school for some of my posts and I got teased for getting the best grades in my English classes. Also for enjoying SSR (sustained silent reading, assigned by our English teacher right after recess). So, I dumbed myself down and now I feel like I’m starting from scratch — with less time and money!

    • NOOOO!!! Never dumb yourself down! The risk is much greater when you internalize your passion to do something that’s more acceptable within society, thinking you can always postpone what you truly want for later. I did the same thing when I got into high school, I realized people were less intimidated when you act stupid… but now I regret all the time I’ve lost. You have that passion for a reason — use it! Although writing is an isolating activity, it is still an extension of your soul. xoxo

    • Yes, I am lucky. Thank you for finding yourself within this post – I can only hope it helped you a little bit with your dilemma. My first book is still inside me, and I hope it will come out someday. xoxo

  16. I feel exactly the same. Now, the words I really want to write. The ones that burn the edges of my brain and itch the tips of my fingers, I write anonymously. On an anonymous blog. That all of no-one reads or knows about. It’s sad.

    Uncertainty and adulthood seem to go in hand don’t they.

    • Yes, they do. I do feel you about the anonymous part, it’s easier to write when you don a mask. But as this post taught me, it’s the unedited, unfiltered truth that people find relatable, so as much as our insecurities hinders us, it is what resonates with others. I hope you continue writing! And thank you for reading my post πŸ™‚

  17. this leaves me with one question: why were YOU to blame if the other kids bought your stories with their lunch money? Selling stories is not a crime (unlike selling drugs) plenty of adults are doing it – and it was not YOU who was the one to decide they rather forwent lunch and had your stories instead.
    It was their parents’ responsibility or that of the teachers, to teach them what is “more important” – and for sure it is important, little children do have lunch!

    But YOU were not to blame for their decision. You offered a chance – you did not FORCE them to buy your stories. And if the stories were so good, that the other children rather spent their lunch-money there – not your fault. I am not a head-teacher, not even a parent – but I would have spoken to the other children if I haed been the teacher. Told them how important it was, they were well fed and how hard their parents worked to make sure they had lunch money. But I would not have taken you accountable for this. After all YOU spread the fun of reading, and that is desirable!
    *shakes head that the teacher tried to walk the easy part*

  18. M says:

    Ahhhh… adulthood… sure does hinder many dreams. Makes me think of Langston Hughes’ “Dream Deferred.” Trying to find the balance between the two has become my latest obsession. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  19. First off, lovely image – I think it is so fittingly beautiful. Second, I feel you. I still spend way too much money on books, but I don’t feel it was wasted. On clothing, yes. But books, ahh. They feel so good.

    • Thank you! This post has taught me that I wasn’t the only child hoarding notebooks for stories, it seems we all did the same thing when we were little! Thank you for your comment.

  20. This is beautifully sad. And to be honest I’m still very young in age yet I always felt school crushed my natural flow and passion for writing because they put so many rules around it. Writing was never about structure to me and they put it in a box with all these restrictions and it ruined it for me. you’ve given me huge trail of thought and I want you to leave your job and go read and write! I really enjoyed reading that, thank yoooou.

    • Yes, institutions tend to force-feed us definitions for everything to attain control and standardizations — but we shouldn’t let it stop our passion! Writing isn’t about structure, it’s about documenting the narratives of your life and participating within a community that loves to read and imagine. Don’t give up on your school work, it’s your weapon to get better at writing. Studying literature was the best thing I could have ever done for myself and I don’t regret it! You’ll see — meeting others with the same passion as you can be truly rejuvenating. xoxo

  21. Sometimes when I was a kid I thought that the purpose of teachers was to prevent motivated, interested kids from developing their natural talents. I still think that. Talent is much more common than we think it is. Teachers just doesn’t much like to see it. Kids like that stick out above the crowd and make them have to think about how to do their jobs. Much easier to shepherd around a bunch of identical, passive little robots than to have to pay attention to their individual sparks of genius.

    • Yes, some teachers are like that… unfortunately, those are the ones who have no passion in what they do. There are some amazing teachers I’ve had in my life that I still remember. Teaching is such an important profession and it should really get more credit.

  22. I love this piece and completely relate to it. I spent much of my life collecting books–not first editions or antique books but just plain books. I have never entered a library and just checked out one book. I have often reached my limit and then use my husband or daughter’s cards to get even more. When I do this, at the time I really do think that I will be able to read them all but of course life happens and I run out of time. I ultimately had to stop going to the library because when I ran out of time, I would still keep the books thinking I would get to them and would instead run up huge overdue charges! I have now moved to buying books and though I still purchase way more than I can ever read, they are at least mine forever! I tell myself that I will still get to them eventually…

    • And you will! I have a lot of books piling up in the corner of my bookshelf just waiting to be devoured. I have never thought of myself as a book collector though, but I do have a library that is sometimes a disadvantage especially when I have parties and get drunk and lend books out left and right, matching novels I think the other person would like etc. I never get the books back. But that’s okay — literature is meant to be shared.

      PS. I loved that image of you using your husband and daughter’s library card to get more books! Such a fiendish thing to do — and I totally imagine myself doing the same! xoxo

  23. I have stacks of notebooks in my garage as well.
    The worlds within my mind so often have to take a back-seat to reality, and then I have little time to explore the worlds of others. So many books, so many ideas, but so much to do and be responsible for.

    • This reminds me of Blind Melon’s song, “No Rain” and the lines, “And all I can do is read a book to stay awake / And it rips my life away, but it’s a great escape”

      It’s always the case, isn’t it? xoxo

  24. I hope you’re writing now. Your words are eloquent, and they obviously speak to a lot of us who live to write and love to read. As a child, I was also either reading, writing or drawing (or some combination thereof) which is what I am still most drawn to today. Your insights about book stores are right on, too–the offerings there are overwhelming and often even depressing–I think, how could one more book ever offer anything these haven’t? But of course, that’s not true. What’s true is doing what you need to do.

    • Yes, I agree. I am writing now, more than ever! It’s your comments that keep me going! I also just bought 4 books and I think I’m regaining that confidence and happiness in bookstores that I once lost. Thank you so much for being a part of that. xoxo

  25. Oh, this post made me a little sad. I relate. I even have an acronym for how I feel when I waft through a bookstore, BSA, this stands for “Book Store Anxiety”. It’s hard to work and also write. But…it’s not impossible. You’ve just got to find a way to manage the frustration of making your stories wait.

    All the best, josephine

    • Hi Josephine,

      THAT IS TERRIFIC. BSA — that succinctly sums up everything I feel when I walk into bookstore. To be honest, I was very sad when I wrote this post, but there’s beauty in sadness.

      Thank you.

  26. cloudofloveliness25 says:

    I am so moved by your words. I still find myself unable to write about anything meaningful. I tend to talk about topics that are cliquΓ© and unimportant. How do you start?

    • Well… now that I think of it, I don’t ever stop. On the way home from work, while watching TV, I am always thinking. When I’m lucky enough to be in front of the computer, then I write relentlessly.

      The best advise I can give is to keep yourself in a perpetual state of writing. There is no beginning or end to expression after all. Everything you write has meaning, even if it can only be defined by you, even if it’s only significant to you. Don’t let the world decide what you write — it’s you behind the words after all. xoxo

    • Great start to your blog! I’ve followed it and I hope to see more content!

      I would suggest personalizing it a bit more — my blog may seem disoriented and too colourful, but if you meet me in real life, you will see that I am a reflection of my blog! Tell your readers a little bit more about yourself and you will be amazed at how many people can relate. For example, I didn’t realize how many people lived in yellow apartments until they told me so!

      Thank you for reading xoxo

  27. I believe you’re allowed to grow up, but never forget who you are and what you loved doing, especially as a kid. It’s a big basis for my website, but I feel your post captured a lot of what I’m trying to say.

    We grow up. We have new hobbies, new responsibilities and new ways of spending our free time. But we still have those addictions, the good ones of course. The ones we wish we could let surface. The kind that makes us want to marathon movies, spend hours reading books or play endless amounts of video games.

    Youth is a big part of it. But there’s no reason why we can’t enjoy those things now like we have before. Even for a little while, before returning back to the normal we call Life.

    I loved this post. I hope you can take a minute and visit my website as well, I think you’ll find some stuff of interest to you πŸ™‚

    Benny

      • Writers…we’ve all got that “thing” that separates us from the rest. I’m sure we have that, and more, in common! I’m brand new to the blog world and am happy to have found you already πŸ™‚

  28. I always loved to write little stories when I was a kid. Most of them were absolutely nonsensical and ridiculous, and that just happens to be one of my favourite kinds of fiction now that I’m an adult. Funny how that worked out.

  29. Hi, a newbie here on WordPress. Thanks for proving once more through this writing of yours which was my first ever read that WordPress is a wonderful place to be in. ❀

  30. Sad yet insightful and somehow… inspiring post. I really want to write again. I haven’t really put my all into writing for a long time.. I want to write a novel someday. But I’ll start small with maybe short stories and microfiction… I just wish my brain disorders weren’t so IN THE WAY. 😦

  31. Pingback: On Being Freshly Pressed & Other Doubts | Spontaneous Ditties

  32. kashkurtin says:

    You are one of the thousands of people who want to write and have always wanted to write but life comes in their way. If you truly want to see your novel on the shelves of those book stores, you’ve got to put writing before relaxation, even if it is forced.
    Great post though!

  33. I somehow find myself in you. Keep dreaming. Don’t stop. You will have what you have dreamed of when the right time comes. Patience is always a good virtue, but sometimes we have to start moving to make things happen.

  34. ΧžΧ•Χ’Χ“ Χ€Χ‘Χ™Χ›Χ•ΧžΧ˜Χ¨Χ™ says:

    Excellent writing. I feel that sometimes and it’s suffocating to long only for the books i want to read.

  35. Hmmm, wonderful piece. This is reminiscence of my childhood writing years. As i grew older, and took on more responsibility, the opportunities to put pen to paper reduced and so did my courage. However, the desire lingered. I eventually devised inventive ways to pen down words once in a while, albeit in challenging situations. This is one I wrote while in traffic en route home from work: http://t.co/0OLuKE5dCZ

  36. This account was written with such eloquence! I couldn’t help but to feel mesmerized by its combination of diction and imagery. Honestly, your gift of word arranging is so masterful and that is something which I aim for as an aspiring writer myself. Thank you so much for posting such a fantastic, artistic and relatable piece for the world to see!

  37. I really enjoyed reading your blog. I would love to read a story written by you one day. Your play with words is quite fantastic and I read every word you wrote to the end πŸ™‚

  38. Nomadic Hayward says:

    Wow, wish I could write as well as you do. Typing my posts on my own blog sometimes feels like a war between the thoughts in my mind and the ability to express them in words onto the post. A talent you’ve mastered so well. You have a great blog, I look forward to reading it often πŸ™‚

    • Thank you! I agree with the war — people think that writing is easy, but it really is an intense, internal manual labour that drains you. Next time you post, silence the voices of your doubts and fears and just pour everything into paper. Write now, edit later. Or as Hemingway used to say, “Write drunk, edit sober”. Filtered honesty is better than no creation at all.

      I noticed you deleted your blog — that makes me sad! I hope I can read some of your writing in the future xoxo

      • No, for some reason WordPress.com was using my old blog address, even though I’d changed it a year ago. The correct blog address is nomadichayward.com , I also develop WordPress websites at britfresh.com but have decided to close down my business and blog purely for myself from now on. When you read my about page you should understand why. Thank you for a lovely reply btw, your advice is appreciated and I’ll do just that πŸ˜€

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  40. Oh sweet Lord did I need to hear this. I’ve been feeling exactly the same about my writing. We are so unashamed and frank as children. Then we somehow wrap ourselves into this delusion of what growing up is meant to be and forget the joy of expression. I bow to thee fellow writer, lovely post ^.^

    • Thank you Sophie! Now, if only we had the same writing skills as we do now when we were children, imagine all the honesty that can be shared with the world! xoxo

  41. Matthew Dorey says:

    Excellent post, I really enjoyed reading it. I think this loss of confidence occurs in so many aspects of life: I’m a mathematician and I remember once having such confidence in my abilities too. I would think about problems all the time, scribbling the answers all over the place. My high school projects would be long labyrinthine experiments that had wandered far from the original brief. Now I often have to force myself to confront problems and solving them is like a grind. How I miss the old days!

    • Hi Matthew,

      This is amazing. Until today, I thought my post only related to writers, but you’ve proven me wrong. I’ve forgotten what’s it’s like to have passion outside of writing, and you sound like a truly passionate mathematician. I adore people with passion — not enough people have it. I also love the image of a high school student presenting labyrinthine experiments. I know you said you’re not confident in your abilities, but I am. If you once ran out of space for all your scribbled answers, it will happen again. Don’t let your curiosity die.

      Thank you for reading. xoxo

    • Thank you! Your username makes me weary — butcheringsaint? Totally oxymoronic, but intensely creative! I like your term — word fiend. We sound like superheroes. We should make up a team called “Word Fiends” and instead of the Fortress of Solitude, we can meet at the Cave of Literature. Ok, I’ll stop now.

      • lol the cave of literature sounds creepy. For instance what happens if people run out of trees and logs to burn they will torch our beloved books.. oh no that would be bad. lol my name and weary? lol perhaps wary!!! you know watch out here comes the guy with a knife!!! lol funny, enjoy the day

  42. You should check out “The End of your Life Book Club” I too always find it hard to spend money/or have the time to read. But I promise this one is well worth your time…alas it will only make you want to read more. However, it does go into almost 70 books and it’s pretty fantastic. You should check it out!

    • AH! What have you done to me?!! You know I have to read this now :p Thank you for the recommendation, and I will definitely let you know what I think once I get my lit-greedy hands on it! xoxo

      • I would say I’m sorry, but I’m really not. Because it’s seriously fantastic. I’m going to try to get through all 107 books mentioned in the next year. I’ll be chronicling it on my blog. Feel free to follow along!!

  43. sounds very familiar indeed! sad how it seems we have to give up some dreams to grow up though. makes one pine for a world where we can do what we love because we love it.

    • Indeed! I have a running joke with my friends where I put on “adult” clothes and pretend to smoke a cigar and say, “I am an adult! I like to discourage people from going for their dreams. You like writing? No jobs for you! You’re an artist? No jobs for you!”

      It’s a struggle. But only the few and the brave understand life well enough to realize that you are living it for yourself, not for others. xoxo

  44. Thank you for this! A friend of mine suggested I start a blog because she liked my writing. I used to love writing, but like you, life got in the way. So I started a blog just to… I don’t know. Maybe because I’m in my 40s now and I wanted a way to do something I enjoyed as a kid, or maybe I just liked the praise and encouragement I got from my friend. I didn’t expect to look at a blank screen waiting for me to fill it with words, and feel so at home.

    Ah, never mind — you described it much better. πŸ™‚

    • Never apologize for what you write! You described writing very eloquently as well — it is a lot like coming home, isn’t it? Keep on writing your blog, I’ve read some of your work and your friend is right — it is amazing! Never give up xoxo

  45. Pingback: Writing is an u… | Vicomte of Debonair

  46. Wow, I’ve had many similar stories to yours…
    As a child I started writing poetry, which at the time was very dark, angsty and way to serious for my age of course. I remember the excruciating moment when my mom found my notebook and started reading, out loud, the words I had deposited in it. I thought it was a safe place to outlet and think tangibly, but notebooks are all too accessible to the wrong eyes.
    And I always think of my best ideas when in the car! Given I live in LA and being stuck in traffic for ages is pretty much a large portion of time spent. I tried recording my thoughts with my phone, but Siri is a terrible listener and neglected to get hardly anything down correctly.
    Keep at it, you have to keep your fingers going at that typewriter so they can be ready for when that great novel idea or plot twist pops into your head. Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

    http://aubreys642.wordpress.com/

    • I think our writing evolves with age, and I did go through the angst phase as well! I think writing always begins as an outlet. It only becomes selfless when we mature, and we start writing to involve others, to teach and/or to heal. Thank you for sharing your thoughts — I don’t have a smartphone but I’ve been advised to get one so that I can talk to myself in the subway and effectively categorize myself with the crazies. But all writers are a little crazy, aren’t we?

      Get Siri to a Listening Seminar! For such an expensive phone, you’d think she’d get everything right.

  47. A beautiful and moving post. I feel the same. I used to love to write and read as a child and nowadays work and responsibilities get in the way. As a child I decided that I would be a writer when I grew up, but things do not always turn out the way you plan. The confidence of childhood is gone and writing terrifies me, because all I can see is what is wrong with my writing, not what I do well. I also walk into bookstores wishing I would have the money to buy a lot of books and the time to read them.

    I have to admit that tears came to my eyes as I reached the end of this post. It reminds me so much of myself and the dreams I had, which have not faded, but lately cause me sadness rather than joy, because they used to seem so attainable and now seem so out of reach.

    • I’m so sorry you feel that way… when I wrote this post, I felt the same way as you do. I think it’s a struggle we all have, it’s hard to make it as a writer — there are no definite, concrete steps to follow, unlike becoming a doctor or a lawyer. The only fuel to keep us going is our passion, and because of how intense our passion is, it affects us when we don’t do as well as we think.

      But knowing the challenges that awaits you, shouldn’t stop you from overcoming them. Regain confidence in the knowledge that passion is not something that’s easy to come by. You found the answer to life’s biggest question: What is it that you want out of life?

      The idea has already been born, the rest is just logistics. xoxo

  48. I like that you started your post by saying ‘when i was young..’
    It seems strange to me (now that I am getting older) that so many truly young people already have the anxieties of the world placed upon them – that there’s an expectation you should have already decided who you are and what you can achieve and whether it would be ‘of value’ by the time you are 14 or something similar.
    Honestly they’ll be giving best actor awards to zygotes in a couple of years the way things are going.
    Anyway I hope your sense of being overwhelmed and uncertain subsides. None of us ever work this out – you just have to keep getting out of bed every day.
    Yes you must eat and clothe yourself and look after other people and sleep, but you must also feed your mind by reading and nourish your soul by being creative if you are a creative being. And, if, by being creative, you add your voice to the extraordinary thing that is humanity – none of us can ask more from you than that.

  49. How I can relate to so much you write here. I’ve heard the quote, the reason we read is to know we are not alone. I think that is true of writing as well. Overcoming the mind is the biggest hurdle, no doubt. I’m with you there. I also feel depressed I will NEVER be able to read all the books I want to in this lifetime. I’ll be good to read all the books I already have on my shelves. Thanks so much for your piece. I am not alone! πŸ™‚

  50. You not writing would be a disservice to us all; it would have denied me the opportunity to read this post, which, having the gift of hindsight i can say would have been a shitty “what if” to have missed.

    Thanks for posting!.

  51. This is certainly something I encountered quite often as a child– someone and their attempt to inhibit my independence and curiosity. Considering I’ve always been a waft of a girl, it wasn’t hard to bully me into compliance the way cruel children do. But, then, I was raised of considerable stock, and a backbone was something I’ve learned to have by the third grade of elementary school. I got my vengeance, quietly. They could make fun of my accent, my language, and my tendency to hide in the darker corners of the school library, but once I start blossoming into a brass girl who wasn’t afraid of defending myself against the older boys…things changed for the better. With all my vicarious lives, I learned some absolute certainty and infinite confidence that has carried me through my adult years; I may not be able to resolve something with a quick thack on the head, but I’ve seemed to manage just fine. As we become adults, we trade one insecurity, one monster for another. Sometimes we need to revisit our literary heroes for guidance in confronting them.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this.

  52. I love how the picture, and the title and the story all come together, especially how you mention you love literature and the picture portrays a child swimming in text, it is fantastic, absolutely great stuff. looking forward to more articles!

  53. Poke My Mon says:

    Reblogged this on Poke My Mon and commented:
    An incredibly-written piece that encapsulates exactly how I am with reading and writing, just with less exciting adventures when younger and, sadly, less selling of stories.

  54. As a childhood writer myself, and now aspiring novelist in my teens, I loved reading your post! Your writing is simply exquisite and very, VERY relatable. πŸ™‚

  55. oh I completely relate to this! Such a shame when we are told something is stupid or wrong when we are children and from that moment dis-connect from spirit. You have a wonderful gift, Im glad your still writing πŸ™‚

  56. I can sympathize with a lot of what you’re saying. I wish I could just flip through a book and absorb all the words like Superman (I think).
    I also like to wite but I let things get in the way.

  57. An interesting post! You may wish to add Jean-Paul Sartre’s “The Words” to your long list of books to read. It is an auto-biography of Sartre’s first 10 years. You may find some similarities to your own childhood, it is an enjoyable read.

  58. If you are in your 20s now, make writing a priority! I know exactly how you feel at this age. I felt the same way. And I can tell you how you’ll feel 30 years from now – you’ll feel regret if you don’t take that risk. Ditch the responsible adult life, and write that book, novel, whatever.

    I’m taking that risk now – and it’s truly a gift to be doing it now. But I wish I’d not taken the “responsible” path all those years ago. All those missed years that I’ll never get back. All those words gone missing.
    http://wordsandcontext.com

  59. NS says:

    “And instead of feeling happiness inside bookstores, all I feel is loneliness, and that sinking realization that I will never have enough time to read all of these books, nor the mind to understand and remember them.”

    I feel exactly the same at times…Too many Books..Too little Time..But the best part is..no one`s judging..so just keep reading and writing to your heart`s desire..That`s exactly what I am trying to do these days….great writing! keep it up

  60. I love books…and reading them gives me a relaxing pleasure and in the same way I even know how it feels when the circumstances do not permit you your life-long addiction…but just remember book is one such thing that will be waiting in your shelf forever only for you to open it and fulfill your desire πŸ™‚

  61. This reminded me so of myself as a little girl going to the library. I was only allowed to take as many books as I could carry because my mother had her own books. I thought “I’ll never be big enough to carry as many as I need!”
    You write beautifully and it’s clear you need to write to live like you need to eat to live. Keep writing, you were meant to do it

  62. This was a beautiful piece. It really hit home. I locked myself away under books growing up, always the outcast because I preferred fantasy rather than the high school drama. I’ve been writing a story for 11 years now. I’ll finish a chapter and erase 3, write 2 and erase one, and I’m always left with less than what I started when I was 12, and less confidence in my words than when I sat down.

  63. Alison says:

    The other night, I sat at my computer and wrote 5 pages, single-spaced, of creative fiction. It practically took the wind out of me, the effort was so great. I remember back when it was so easy to fill notebooks on notebooks! Now, with the precious few hours left in the evening after work/gym/grocery shopping/drinks with friends/cleaning the house/laundry and everything else, how do you re-learn how to read and write? Wonderful articulation of something I think many of us feel.

  64. Write! You have to write! If you do not write, you are hoarding a talent you were given to share!!! You are a step ahead of me. I just realized that writing is a dream I have had my whole life. A dream that I forgot until recently. I definitely need to brush up on my writing skills as they have diminished due to a lack of use. You however write beautifully. Embrace your gift and share it please.

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