I was rummaging through my collection of notebooks--used and new--and I found a beat-up pink Cattleya notebook. The kind that you used in the binders with those hook/paperclip things to hold them in place.
This pink Cattleya was mine since first year high school, and in it I had written six chapters of a Sweet Dreams-type of novel. In longhand.
Inserted in the pages were six loose-leaf sheets of detailed character sketches, complete with full names, nicknames, birthdays, likes, dislikes and class schedules. I also had all the names of the teachers per class. And the love ineterest and friends and enemies of all the major characters. Though my unfinished novel now makes me cringe, I could see the enthusiasm I had, filling up the 50 or so pages with my tiny, 0.5-mech-pencil-only handwriting.
I remember the joy of sharing the story with my friends, on whose lives my characters were loosely based. I remember how easy it was to get the ideas flowing. How easy it was to keep on writing. I remember...I remember that I wrote that without any goal in mind. Just the pleasure of getting the story out of my head and onto paper.
I remember and it makes me want to cry. Where has that enthusiastic, hopeful writer gone?
Yes, I now make my living as a 'writer'. But what kind? I write fluff for a living. I write on demand. I write the things that bring in money. I write whatever the client tells me to. I take their words and form them into something more readable. Their ideas, not mine. Their words, hardly any of mine.
And when I try to write for myself, when I try to get my stories out on paper--nothing. No words come out. I've forgotten how. And somehow, I die inside.
I know that writer--the one who writes without a care for grammar or sense or audience or approval or pay--is in here somewhere. Buried under deadlines and responsibilities and the need to always be perfect. I just don't know how to find her.
Maybe that's why I so desperately want to go back to school and earn my master's degree in Creative Writing. Maybe the discipline of having to write non-work will help me break free. Maybe being immersed in a world where you aren't selling anything in your writing will inspire me somehow.
I want to write.
I want to feel the sheer joy of words tumbling out effortlessly, forming themselves into delightful stories.
Where have I gone?