Tuesday, May 17, 2005

How do I do this, anyway?

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer. Even when I was five or six, I kept little journals, started writing stories, and wrote some poems. My grandma, bless her heart, even sent in a series of my nature Haiku poems to The Lutheran Digest, and they actually published them!

It was so easy then. I wrote about my world, the things that I thought were important and how I felt about them, and I had an adoring audience in my mom and grandmas. I thought I was well on the way to becoming a famous author, the next Laura Ingalls Wilder or Maud Hart Lovelace. After all, they wrote about their worlds and what was important to them. The trouble was, I began to realize that Laura Ingalls Wilder's world was a lot more interesting and eventful than mine. What could a fifth grader living in the suburbs and going to grandma and grandpa's lake cabin on weekends in the 1970's possibly have to say that would be interesting? As I approached the teen years and felt the incredible pressure to look and act like everyone else, I gradually gave up writing my stories and poems. I did keep diaries, full of inane drivel about the boys I liked, the girl in seventh grade homeroom who made that school year hell for me, and how I felt about the songs in that week's Top 40. The stuff teenage girls were supposed to write. Blech.

I hate to admit, I didn't read much during that time either. What a waste. There, at the prime of my life when the world was full of possibilities, I resigned myself to thinking my greatest potential was to find the perfect boyfriend. My career aspirations at the time included being a radio deejay. I even was a *gulp* cheerleader my sophomore year in high school. No, I did not fit in and it was hell.

Luckily I realized that a National Merit scholar and class salutatorian was not supposed to be on the track to go to deejay school, and I chose to attend a small Lutheran liberal arts college in southern Minnesota (that narrows it down to 2, and I wasn't an Ole!) and major in biology. The biology major was a fortunate choice; it got me back into appreciation of wildlife and the outdoors, another early childhood pastime that got squelched at the onset of puberty. But for the most part I did not take advantage of all the opportunities for intellectual and spiritual growth that the college had to offer. I rarely spoke up in class, and continued to write inane drivel in my diaries. I did not even consider majoring in English or doing something related to writing, although I was told by more than one professor that I was a talented writer.

I still keep telling myself I'll be a writer some day. I read more than I ever have in my life, and I have an outlet to whomever reads this. But I noticed the other day, in the brief description of my blog, I mentioned something about "environmental philosophy". So where, you may ask, is my writing on environmental philosophy? What are my core views, my beliefs?

Maybe I don't really know. Maybe I really don't have anything to say on the subject. Maybe I am just a shallow "enviro-lite". And that scares the heck out of me. In the words of Babs, the knitting, ignorantly optimistic chicken in the movie Chicken Run, "My life flashed before my eyes...and it was really boring!" Maybe I don't live a life that shows what I care about. Am I passionate enough to be a writer? How do I do this, anyway?

5 comments:

Dan Trabue said...

Friend Deb, you ARE a writer. With skill and telling grace you have painted wonderful pictures of your life, your environs, what you care about. And you are an environmentalist in that you care for your homestead and that homestead is wide enough to include more than just a house and a car you use to move around in, but also the flora and fauna of your particular ecosystem.

You are not at all unlike Leopold, Hubbard, Carson or Berry (and noting that most of those are men, it's delightful to hear another feminine voice on the subject).

Me? When I grow up, I want to be like Deb.

Deb said...

Thanks, Dan, for your words of encouragement. I guess I've been a bit self critical lately, kind of an "everyone else has their act together but me" thing, a fear that I really may in fact have nothing to say. But in confronting this fear, I have the opportunity to grow, to examine myself, and find out what it is I really want to say.

I am blessed to have someone like you who can appreciate the meaning of what I write here. Maybe some day you and your family can make a pilgrimage to Sand Creek, and we'll sit around the bonfire playing mandolins and guitars all night. :)

Dan Trabue said...

And my wife plays hammered and lap dulcimer, my son plays HD and my daughter plays fiddle, so we could have a regular hoedown. Saturday? (just kidding)

Sylvia said...

Interesting, we have some similarities (not the cheerleading!) and have ended up in the blogosphere intending to say something. I've always thought this would make a great series of blog entries. Go on, I dare ya!

pablo said...

If you write, you are a writer! Don't think of it as some mystical state or secret profession. You write. You are a writer. It can't be explained any more simply than that.

Keep writing, though. That's the difference between "writers" and wannabes. You mentioned something like that in your earlier post about bloggers who make a single entry and then disappear.

Keep writing.