On the first day of the semester I didn’t know if I had found the right room for my creative writing class, but when I walked in and saw that everyone looked like they were bearing a tortured soul, I was convinced. As we went around the room, explaining why we were taking the course and what we hoped to get out of it, my classmates each explained that they were aspiring writers by trade, hoping to perfect their craft and practice their technique. I admit that I gave the tiniest eye roll at the solemnity of their responses, not understanding how they could take themselves so seriously.
When it was my turn to speak, I swept a glance across the room, gave a half smile, and said, “I’m not really a writer. I’m just here for fun.” Everyone chuckled politely at my response-as they well should have-but since that first day of school my perceptions have shifted a bit.
As a lifelong reader, I have always appreciated well told stories and pretty words. I grew up enamored by the way sentences woven together just so allowed me to see worlds that don’t even exist. During the transition from high school to college, I started reading poetry and am still to this day perplexed and amazed at how such short combinations of english words, often with no regard to grammar, can carry so much power. This time was when I began to understand the weight and gravity of notorious secret poet societies throughout history. Men and women have left deep marks on the world using the Pen (capital P intended, pun also intended).
I write these things to make it understood that I am a reader who loves writers, and I have been for as long as a can remember.
But until that creative writing class there were some things about that pen and paper typeface, rebellious, ahead of their time, behind their time, breed of humans that I had not begun to grasp.
Writers, as it turns out, are people. Even the meekest of the writing class is bolder and braver than the fiercest warrior, because writers have overcome one severe obstacle that is ingrained deeply into human nature: the instinct for self preservation that at all costs keeps vulnerability at bay. Writers open up their hearts and lay them on the table for the world to criticize. Often, they present the soul of a nation or whole generation and bear the retaliation of the world upon themselves and their own legacy.
These are the things that I learned in my intro to creative writing class as I read about the bouts with depression, childhoods, heartbreaks, and first loves of my classmates. As I presented my first poem to the class, I realized that while being a writer is hard, anyone can become one. All you need is the smallest of voices and a story to tell.