Friday, May 20, 2011

In Search of Sanity

I'm not sure when it was that I decided I wanted to write professionally, but I remember that the moment I realized it, everything changed. Gone were the days of simply wanting to tell a story. Replacing it was the need to tell the right story--- the story that mattered, the story that would change its reader for better or for worse.

I remember my fourth grade year, writing a "book" to amuse my friends. They were the cast, their lives highly exaggerated, and I was the puppeteer pulling the strings, trying to move them along with this new girl I created and force them into a world where they weren't exactly the stars. For the first time ever, I'd seen something through from beginning to end. I saw it in chapters and in words and in a hilarious way. I won many a callus writing the entire thing out by hand.

And even though I can't remember when it hit me, I woke up one day and decided I wanted to be an author. Not a writer. An author. I had been a writer since grade two when I wrote poems on the backs of my arithmetic tests, and penned short narratives for my friends in grade four. Heck. I was a writer (or a story teller which is what a writer is in their simplest form) when my friend Stephanie and I kept up the hugest (fictional) story of both of us attending an after school program called G.E.M.S. We piggy-backed off of one another on a weekly basis, retelling our adventures to anyone who was unfortunate enough to try to engage in our conversations. I wanted to move beyond writing. I wanted writing to be my craft, and story-telling to be my art. I wanted to be an author, and I wanted to be good at it. So I didn't sit back and wait for author to happen to me; I went out there in the big bad world and learned how to do it.

What I learned right away were the following three things: you don't have to be an adult to be an author, you have to write to be an author, and there are two types of authors--- published and unpublished.

Currently, I'm unpublished. Do I want to be published one day? Absolutely. That's the goal, I'm not going to lie, but I realize that in order to reach that goal, I had to actually write a book first. So I did. And I liked how that went so I wrote another one. And then I liked how that went and re-read the first one. It was terrible. I went back to the beginning and started from scratch, revamping a story I cherished and cared for and although it's better, it either A.) needs professional help or B.) should forever hold its peace.

And seriously, that's alright. Everything I've written has come to be because I wanted to write it. I didn't set a word to paper that, at one point, I wasn't absolutely proud of. I've just grown A LOT from point A (wanting to be an author) to point B (actually becoming one). Am I good at it? I'll be honest and say that's for the reader to decide. I've had people read and love my stuff, and others read and hate it. And since I simply write for my own sanity, what do I know about the quality? I make it a point not to compare myself to other authors because what I write is what I write. I KNOW it's not perfect, but it's a reflection of me. I'm not perfect, it's not perfect, and, for now, I'm okay with that. Like I do in my own life, I review, I analyze, I spot the problem, and I make a couple of changes. There's no harm in being wrong the first time as long as the second time around, we're definitely getting better and one step closer to amazing.

The truth is, the journey to finding myself here at Author Type II (the unpublished) has lead me directly and incidentally to finding me. I was looking for something, I think, in the realm of fiction to help me hide away from the things of the world around me, but, as with all good things, it lead me straight back around to the heart of what I was running from and made me face it, head on. I had to take a hard look at the things that were surrounding me and the person I was turning into because of circumstance and weak knees and I had to pull out a pen and show myself what was going on. In a way, I had to look at myself through the mirror. I had to use my words to see what was happening to me.

I think I'm just thankful to language, itself, for giving us an outlet--- a way to say what we mean and express how we feel. But I've always been thankful that writing kind of found me, because it's saved me from myself, from those ruts others talk about, and, ultimately, from being someone else. It's weird to say "I like myself," but I do. I like who I am. And I found all that through my quest for sanity; and I found sanity through a mess of words that let me untangle them long enough to see the light of day.

I hope writing's done something just as magical for you. I can't express how much I love hearing great stories about how words have changed someone's life, so if you have a tale for me, feel free to leave it in the comments.

'Til next time, Bloggers,
~Deserae McGlothen

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Maybe, Baby

There's a wonderful word in this world called maybe, and I've learned to embrace it for all that it is.

Maybe is not a no, so when I ask my mom if I can go to an author signing in La Habra and she says, "Maybe," I try not to throw hissy fits anymore or blame her for ruining my life.

Maybe is almost a yes, so when my sister asks if she can borrow my blazer and I tell her, "Maybe," I notice that she smiles and leaves me alone for a while. I always give in despite the fact that everyone tells her she looks great in it, and I haven't gotten compliments on it in two flipping years.

Maybe means thought is being given, so when my teachers start the class with, "Well, maybe..." I can tell they're considering giving us a break. And I find that I'm beyond grateful that they even took the time to consider this. They could have started the class with "Page three hundred and ninety-four," without thought for my feelings or of what I wanted to do. So when I hear maybe, I'm thankful. Very, very thankful.

Maybe is a good thing. It spares you outright rejection. I've been rejected before and it hurts. Maybe, at least, shows you there was something that attracted a person to you in the first place. Maybe means there's something they liked enough to not just walk away, and maybe that's a good thing don't you think?

Maybe's full of hope. Hope for what could be only had a fifty-fifty chance before maybe stepped in. It's opened a whole can of possibilities. Possibilities beget opportunities, and opportunities, as you know, are hard to come by. There's hope in some words, but not so much as there is in a maybe. Maybe that's just a coincidence. But maybe--- maybe it's not.

I have a thought for you. It starts with a "what if." What if you embraced maybe for all that it is? Maybe it'll help you take pride in yourself, your writing, and the maybes you come by on a daily basis. Here's another: what if you started to appreciate them and open yourself up to the possibilities a maybe presents to you? There's something big attached to the whole "positive thinking" thing. The cards are in your favor so long as you remember you've already turned the tide. Maybe you should try it. Tell me how believing in the power of the "maybe" works out for you.

~Deserae McGlothen