When I was very young – elementary school aged – I wanted to be a writer. I had a very lonely childhood with no siblings at home and no neighbors with which to play. I did have my imagination and my babysitter’s endless stream of soap operas. I had several imaginary friends and even an imaginary dog. (My mother swears Rover was the best pet we ever had.) I would spend my days creating little dramas for them.
As I got older I began writing down the stories in my head. I would hide in my closet with a flashlight, notebook, and a pen and spend hours scribbling what I imagine was nonsense. One of my babysitter’s was a lifelong diarist. If one of her little old lady friends called to gossip and brought up the issue of when the pastor ran away with the choir director, she would say, “Hang on a minute. I have it right here.” She would dig out one of her journals and find the exact information.
“That was July 21, 1978. They took his car. She didn’t even leave a note and called home from a payphone in Arizona.” It was a very handy tool for a busybody. Eventually, I decided to start journaling , too. As with most things in my life (see also, weight loss, being nice to my husband) I couldn’t stick with it for long periods of time but would always pick it up from time to time. Till I found out that my parents were reading it.
They started berating me for the private things I had written. (And trust me, pre age 14 it wouldn’t have been too controversial. Even post 14 it wouldn’t have been too controversial unless you count “Bobby G. tried to stick his hand under my bra and I blocked him with my elbow.”) I stopped journaling. I stopped writing short stories as they read all those, too. They threw many of them away as the content wasn’t deemed ‘appropriate’.
Other than a brief foray into journalism and a creative writing class in high school I never wrote again.
Till last time when I started blogging. On my previous blog, readers would ask when I was going to write my book. The answer? Never. I’m not a writer just a blogger. And that’s ok. I’m happy to have a space where my parents can’t find me and I don’t have to hide in the closet. Could my aspirations be different if I hadn’t shut myself down all those years ago? Maybe. And that’s ok, too.