Sometimes when I think of myself as a writer, I picture myself standing before a wall. Not a wall like the Great Wall of China. More like a brick wall surrounding the ghetto, a border line between the city and the slums. Or maybe it is like the Great Wall and I just decided to change it as I was writing this—the writer in me always trying to make a point, to tell a story. Hmm. Maybe I can huff and puff and blow it down????
Well, whatever type of wall it is, I’m standing in front of it. Most days I attempt to climb the wall. I write, I write, I write. I self-publish. I self-promote. I advertise. I blog. I interview authors who’ve already reached the other side of the wall. I search the Internet daily for reviews of my books (and celebrate when I find one). I counsel myself to keep writing, to keep listening to the voices in my head, to keep hearing their words with my heart, and to keep putting those words and those voices on paper.
I know that I will write every day. Until the day I die, I will be a writer who writes. I know this because I can hardly remember a time when I wasn’t a writer. Writing is as much a part of me as the blood that flows through my veins.
When I knew I was about to be a single mother of three, I remember walking across the University of Memphis campus trying to decide what I wanted to major in; writing was the first thing that came to mind. There were no other choices. I’d already been writing so many years.
Heather’s Hope, a thriller about Clifford, a man who kills his wife, but ….yes, I can still picture the letter I’d received in the mail a few years before that moment on the UofM campus. “…hardly a Sunday morning read, but I couldn’t put it down.” Though that agent proved to be less agent than con woman, I still believed in my passion, my desire to tell stories. In fact, to this day, I believe Heather’s Hope is a great story. Of course, it needs some polishing, but….well, you know what I mean.
So, I majored in journalism. Landed a job at the first place I interned. Cool. This is where I belong. I get to write every single day, for a living. Yay me! Not so quick. The writers around me, especially the writers at the paper where I worked, were hungry for something completely different from what I hungered for. They wanted to get the story first. I lacked that cutthroat competitive desire to out-scoop the other reporters. I simply wanted to paint a picture with my words. Don’t get me wrong, I got a thrill from writing stories at The Daily News. Sometimes. But mostly it became something to do to get the bills paid.
Getting the story when a business owner refused to talk to me was thrilling (Ha! I stuck it to you!), but it wasn’t what kept me up late at night. It wasn’t the voices that I kept hearing in my head. It wasn’t the longing I felt in my heart.
So, I ended up becoming a teacher. Makes sense, right? Yeah. So, now I teach other people how to write. I inspire people to believe in themselves when they really feel like just giving up. I give them what I wish someone had given me when I used to doubt myself all the time because I wasn’t one of those straight A students that all the teachers and guidance counselors went gaga over. I spend hours planning, hours grading papers, hours planning, hours grading papers, hours teaching, hours researching, hours creating resources, hours attending meetings, hours grading papers…
And my wall, well, it’s still there. So while I’d been telling myself that I’d been climbing, trying to get over the wall, I’m beginning to question if I’ve just been standing at the bottom of the wall all these years.
Yes, I’ll continue to write. I can’t not write. I know I’ll always be a writer. I love writing too much to ever stop. I love telling stories. The question is will I ever climb my wall?
James, my son, would probably interject at this point and say that I don’t even have to attempt to climb the wall. That if I just keep walking, I’ll find a gate built into the wall. “And the gate has always been there, and it’s unlocked. You just need to reach out and try to open it.” To which I’ll reply aloud, “Hmm. That makes a lot of sense.” But inside my mind, I’ll be saying, “Silly Rosalind. Tricks are for kids.” And then I’ll laugh out loud. Because I get it. Finally, I get it.
Peace & Love,
Just a quick question for you: Are you standing in front of your wall or are you trying to figure out how to get through it?