In sixth grade my school district held a poetry contest and I submitted a poem titled something like, “Kungfu Mom” about an event a few days prior where my mom had tackled one of my brother’s friends to the ground in the kitchen while holding two large knives. Said friend was attempting to steal a bite of cookie dough (if I recall correctly) and was so shocked by the reaction of my laughing mother, he stayed away from our house for months after that interaction. It was good fodder, and I won.
A sapphire or some other fancy kind of stone was the prize. My mother was incredibly flattered when I gave her a prize I had won writing about her, but then lost the stone (this wasn’t unusual for her). I’m not sure I really minded much, but she was devastated at it’s loss. I was just excited.
I was 12 and I had won a writing contest.
I’ve been writing for a long time. I’m under no delusions that I’m particularly good at it, but I do enjoy wrangling words and having the freedom to go back and change them. I run my mouth almost constantly and there is no correcting what flies out of there when I’m speaking. Writing is like talking, but you get to fix all your fuck ups (or at least the ones you find in editing) instead of being stuck with, “Oops, I probably shouldn’t have said that.”
The work I’m most proud of was a story I wrote about a dry ice bomb in college. Unfortunately when I shared it with my creative writing class everyone seemed mystified. One student grabbed me after class and said, “I understood it. I thought it was brilliant.” Which was a nice consolation prize, but didn’t make up for the C I got from the professor with the words, “I don’t get it.”
Since then I’ve written heaps of mediocre poetry, a humor column for a magazine aimed at (tobacco) pipe smokers, and loads and loads on the topics of expat life and religion. Interspersed throughout I’ve giggled to myself while writing about bodily functions, bad bathrooms, foolish language mistakes, and running up mountains.
I don’t know where this is going to go. Very likely it will go nowhere. But I’m going to keep writing until I figure it out.
p.s. I’m super annoyed that the desire to launch this coincided with the New Year. I do not do resolutions, I choose to do things and I go do them. Unfortunately once a year this aligns with lots of other people choosing to go do things. Can’t win them all.