Like a lot of people, I came to writing in my teenage years, hoping to make sense of my teenage angst and my own existence. But also like a lot of teenagers, I wasn’t confident enough to stick with it. I vividly remember a professor in my college first year writing class condemning one of my poems and cheering on the rest of the class to do the same. Perhaps my memory is a little skewed. Perhaps not. I’m sure it was a horrible poem. I’m also sure that at the time I turned it in, I didn’t think so. Needless to say, I never turned in another piece of writing for the class to rip to shreds. I just waited until the end of the semester to hand it pages and pages of teenage troubles, all late, all with points off.
So ended my writing aspirations.
At least publicly. I secretly kept writing, but it never went anywhere until my forties when I formed a writing group of other older women who had also been jaded in their earlier attempts. Two of us have continued from that first group many years ago. We’ve encouraged and supported each other which prompted me to go back for a BA in English and both of us to get MFAs in creative writing. It’s still an uphill climb. Writing is as challenging as it is rewarding. And the few successes I’ve had so far, don’t seem to override the trauma of my first year writing class. It still pops up like the mole in the whack-a-mole game at the fair and probably always will.
But I keep slapping that ole Professor Mole down. And it sure feels good.