G’day, wonderful wordsmiths! I hope you are enjoying the beginnings of welcome Spring if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, or of lovely Autumn if you’re somewhere DownUnder like me.
Today I have a question for you – the same one a friend of mine recently asked on facebook:
Hey my comrade writers, why, how and when did you start writing?
My reply was:
I was in love with poetry (which my Dad used to read to me). I thought poetry was the most beautiful thing that human beings could create. I was also in love with beauty. It seemed natural to me to want to spend my life creating beauty – which obviously meant making poems. I was 7 when I made up my first poem. I wrote it down. I have been doing it ever since. I am now 81, and I'm not tired of it yet. Fairly soon I wanted to create other things in poetry, not only beauty. I don't always succeed in creating what I want to, but it all still seems worth the attempt.
Yes, that answer was all about poetry and only poetry. Definitely my ‘thing’.
I never was very good at, or very interested in writing fiction. I did have a couple of short stories published in literary magazines many years ago but they’re very thinly disguised autobiography.
I’m unable to sustain a novel. I tried twice, also years ago. One started happening in my ‘morning pages’ (journalling whatever is in one’s head first thing) but after a while I found the characters so boring that I thought they’d hardly interest anyone else either, and let go of them. Another year I tried NaNoWriMo (writing 50,000 words of a novel in November). I did finish it, but it got really silly towards the end.
I never cared enough about either of these projects to resurrect them. I liked writing non-fiction: blog posts, book reviews, personal letters…. Attempts at memoir, though, usually got abandoned fairly quickly. Again, I could never sustain my own interest.
My real start in writing stories came when our Magaly introduced me to the concept that non-fiction can also be storytelling, and (needing to keep them shortish) we hit on the idea of a 369-word limit for P&SU prose pieces. For some reason that length suits me. (I usually write more and have to pare back, which improves the writing.) I have even done an occasional piece of fiction and quite a few bits of memoir this way.
I guess it’s true on one level to say I began writing stories as school essays, long ago. But I couldn’t wait to stop that, so my real beginning in embracing storytelling was in 2019 in this community.
Many of my writer friends, however, dreamed first of telling stories and found their way to poetry later.
How about you?
Who would like to tell us what started you writing? We’d love to read about it in the Comments below!
As always, the actual writing is what we’re really here for. It being Sunday, you may choose your own topic and share any piece of writing old or new, poetry or prose. (Prose pieces need to be 369 words maximum, please, excluding title.)
On Wednesday, Magaly will invite us to write new poetry or
prose using “a troubled relationship”—literal
or metaphorical—as inspiration.
Images from Unsplash: 1 by Aaron Burden, 2 by Andrew Neel.
I started writing when I was a little girl. I was an avid reader - started reading at the age of three. My mum's cousin was a journalist who wrote stories for me and encouraged me to write my own. At junior school, we had an excellent teacher who introduced me to poetry and I've loved it ever since. While I was teaching, I had very little time for my own poetry, but once I retired there was no holding me back!ReplyDelete
Ah yes, I was another early and avid reader. I bet most writers were! And those wonderful teachers who impart their own love of literature are much to be celebrated.Delete
Happy Sunday, fellow writers!ReplyDelete
Rosemary you ask a question that usually makes for a great conversation over a cup of tea. :) I like your answer, “I thought poetry was the most beautiful thing that human beings could create.” and I personally think it still is.
To answer shortly, besides school compositions, I started with writing letters to relatives and friends who lived in the city as a way of sharing happenings in the country. I guess that’s why I’m also drawn to autobiography and memoir as genres. As for poetry which is really my number one form of expression, I could write a book, literally!
I know you have already written at least one – because I have it in Kindle!Delete
Happy Sunday, hmmm i hope i remember correctly my starting point, there must have been oneReplyDelete
If you don't remember, it must feel as if there was never a time when you didn't write. How lovely that it's so much part of you!Delete
I wish that blogs had a like button because I often like something but can't think of anything perceptive to say about it.ReplyDelete
Yes, I often wish that too. Wordpress blogs do, but Blogger not so far.Delete
On the other hand, saying something perceptive is not essential. It can mean as much to be told, 'I really enjoyed that'.Delete
I can remember writing poetry when I was about 10 or 11. My interest continued into highschool when I was co-editor of the school newspaper. For years I just wrote for my own enjoyment, and I have notebooks full of essays. In later years I joined a small writing group, and we simply wrote for the pleasure of writing and shared our essays. It was very fulfilling. I live with my son and his wife and we recently relocated to an over-55 community. Since here, I've formed a small writing group to continue the tradition.ReplyDelete
I love knowing that you have a writing group--I'm a tad jealous! I hope you share some of their writings some day.Delete
Writing groups are so valuable! I belong to two (offline), one of which I run and the other is a small group of three women, of similar age, literary background and writing experience, where no-one is 'teacher' – though next month they have asked me to teach them a bit about haiku, which I will. Every now and then, one of us will share something in which they have more expertise than the others; it evens out.Delete
Happy Sunday. And fair warning my answer is painful and upsetting.ReplyDelete
Probably inspired by my avid reading, I started writing as a little girl. Diaries, fairy tales and stories, a few poems. Then as a young adult I went through severe trauma, in a badly abusive relationship. Where the offender took my writing and turned it into a living nightmare.
After that I stopped writing completely.
I wanted to write, but every time I tried I ended up with so much anxiety I had to stop. Fearful that once again it would be used against me. I tried to use work as an outlet, finding jobs that required my creativity. But in my heart I always knew something was missing. Hidden from sight.
Then in spring 2019, I was once again battling depression and PTSD.
But this time thanks to friendly, warm and safe encouragement, I suddenly put pen to paper and started writing. And as you’ve all noticed I haven’t stopped since.
I always thought I wanted to write fiction. So imagine my surprise when poetry was what flowed out of my mind.
The thought of someone taking something yours (and good) and turning it into something bad is upsetting, indeed. I hope Karma has her way with the offender.Delete
And thank goodness for poetry!
That story makes me sad and angry – and then glad and relieved that you have finally found your way back to such an integral aspect of yourself. I do believe poetry is a natural form of human expression. Institutionalised people (in prison, mental hospital, etc.) seem to turn to it spontaneously. So I am not all that surprised it's where you have been led while healing from your trauma – and to such great effect! Happy to go on reading as long as you're writing.Delete
I dabbled in poetry as a young adult, and incorporated poetry into more than a few eulogies for loved ones who passed. I began writing in earnest (2000)during the years I cared for my mother who suffered from Alzheimer's and Lewy Body Dementia. I maintained a journal during 2002 - 2007 which later became a book for my sisters.ReplyDelete
I love that your journal grew into more.Delete
I have read somewhere that while many poets begin in childhood (as several of us here have shared) the other seminal time, even more often, is in the teens.Delete
I kept a journal when I was caring for my late husband, who
developed mild Alzheimer's and various physical ills, and another in the first years of widowhood. Not sure how I'd have got through without the writing!
I believe writing during those difficult years saved me.Delete
Rosemary, I love your stories, so knowing what got you truly started pleases me to no end.ReplyDelete
I began writing by accident. I wrote my first story as an alternative ending for a book someone was reading just to find out that the last few pages were missing. I wrote that ending, and then never stopped. As you already know, my love for poetry was born out of necessity. I'm not thankful for the reasons that got me started--illness--but I'm delighted for being here now.
I adore the story of how you started writing fiction! Reminds me of an Australian novelist who said that when she was a kid she complained of being bored and her mother said, 'Well go and write a book!' so she did, and never stopped. Yes, I too could wish poetry had come to you some other way – but if you had to be ill, at least it came with that compensation ... even, that blessing. I'm glad poetry came to you; I not only enjoy your poetry but learn from your whole approach to creativity.Delete
My blog got started in 2016, but I've been writing since I was 7. My second-grade teacher encouraged me. We had free-writing time in class, and I loved it. I would share some of my (very bad) poetry with her, and she would always encourage me to keep writing! In grade school I wrote some short stories, but I gravitate toward poetry now, plus daily journaling.ReplyDelete
As I said to Kim, encouraging teachers are wonderful. I also had some – three in particular, over the years, who implored me not to stop writing.Delete
I lost my precious Edgrr Saturday. I posted an homage I wrote to him this morning.ReplyDelete
Oh, sad news! Grief is certainly one spur to poetry. Hopefully the writing will also serve as release.Delete
I am so sorry, Rob.Delete
Thank you Rosemary, Magaly. I was so stunned at first, but as I approached writing this, the tears finally broke through in a deluge — and I have had a couple episodes since. This has proved cathartic. I loved that little guy so much, and his love was unconditional. I will miss him until it’s my turn to be released.Delete
Good day, Poets!ReplyDelete
i spent too much time playing as a child, and actually do not like literature in school. I was more interested in painting and sketching. But i knew i can write because the school teachers would always read my school compositions to the class as examples of good writing. I only started writing poetry when i was about to be drafted into the military, when i was bored and angry. it was thereafter an on-off love affair, until i discovered blogging. then i write pretty consistently. Oh yes, and engaged with some on-line poetry forums, which was quite interesting. And then i found this poetry community. :)
Not a typical story – which makes it all the more interesting. I'm so glad you found poetry, and this community! (Big fan of your writing.)Delete
I started my blog in 2011 though I knew I was not that good in writing. The poems and stories that I read from poetry and writers’ blogs inspired me to create one. It was a perfect venue for me to express my innermost thoughts and fears which I find difficult to share personally to family and friends. I’ve written only a few irregularly through the years.ReplyDelete
I think it's kinda like the contemporary equivalent of 'a room of one's own'. As for being 'not that good', I have observed over and over again that we all get better as we continue to write, share our writing, read other people's writing and respond to it, in communities like this one.Delete
I'm very late here, busy, busy, busy.ReplyDelete
In 2005 I was talking with my sister in Iowa on the phone and she asked me if I knew that a mutual back home in Nebraska had a blog. So I read it and wanted to leave a smart aleck comment. Hi blog wouldn't allow doing that unless I had a Blogger account. So I did and the rest is short tim history, 16 years worth.
I wrote mainly meme stuff and journal type things, with a few articles, fiction, true, or a combo half true with various types of fictional embellishments.
Also a few poems mostly having no regard for being 100% true, many of my few were cynical or humorous (my humor is often misunderstood and taken for gospel).
In June, 2008, I had written a poem about an outhouse that I had visited in Luckenbach, Texas, of a famed Willie Nelson song. While fresh I popped it on "One Single Impression," now disconnected and I was hooked into being a regular there. Quite a few are writing here now.
I classify as a low medium writer but I love writing and won't stop now. Everyone here is nice like at OSI was, some are way out of my league but the most humor me.
Thank you for for your faithfulness in herding this column along.
My first with a poetry group.Delete
Alas, your link led me to a dead end. But it's fascinating to learn of your start via the blogging world. The love of writing is a wonderful thing to have. I'm glad you're not going to stop; I always enjoy reading you.Delete
Too bad the link didn't work. I think you will have to paste it into the URL space and enter it, I just did that and it worked fine.ReplyDelete
Thank you for asking us this, you received some very interesting accounts.
Yours was great, I too have a start and a theme for a memoir of mine, "All the Women in my Life." The start and my outline is on my umpteenth blog,
https://jimmielife1.blogspot.com/. At least some of the posted work, in blog fashion yet, are listed on the right side bar under "Previous Posts."
Hi Jim, I did post your link into my browser, but lots of people locally are having troubles with the server I use, I think because of some upgrading they are doing to their towers. But the link to your memoir start worked just fine, so I'll have fun dropping in to read from time to time.Delete