Ink on Paper: A Lifetime of Emotions Released
My earliest memory of writing involves a simple diary with a colorful picture of a castle, princess, and unicorn on the cover, where my first writings were recorded. The words printed on that cover said, “There is a perfect time to launch a dream, to find a friend, to laugh, to play, to love… and that time is always today.” This diary was a Christmas present, though not one I had requested. It took me some time to find the courage to write in this secret journal, as my first entry was dated almost a month after Christmas. It seemed silly to me at first to write random thoughts or secrets in this book, only to chance that someone might find and read it. All the same, my first entry was all about a boy and how I knew at the ripe age of nine years old that I would never find another I would love more. Reading through the entries that followed, I was surprised to discover how many boys I couldn’t love more. I wrote of broken hearts, first kisses, and secrets no one else would ever know. From year to year, and entry to entry, I can see improvements in my writing skills, never mastering the task, but noticeable improvements were made over time in my writings. This diary is truly where my writing skills began, and it is very satisfying to be able to read through these entries, especially after twenty-three years.
When I was upset as a child, I could be found hidden with my diary and a pen. I would write about what had made me angry, sad, or something exciting that had happened in my life. It was amazing how just releasing those feelings on paper with ink made some issues seem to subside. Even as an adult, I still write when I am upset, like the time I was flying alone from St. Louis and I was scared and nervous, as I hate to fly. I had been in St. Louis for a work conference and received word that my son had been hospitalized with pneumonia. I found myself sitting in an airport waiting for my departure and so overwhelmed with emotions and anxiety, that I was about to lose it. I found a little shop inside the airport where I purchased a pen and notebook, and I began to fill the pages with feelings and thoughts as they poured out of me. I was writing as if I were talking to my husband, explaining the way I felt waiting to board this plane alone, knowing I had to get to my son. It calmed my nerves, and I was able to board my flight home. I am thankful to be able to release my feelings with words and find peace, and even now as an adult, this form of writing has been helpful to me, almost in a medicinal way.
Another writing form, journaling, I discovered when I became pregnant for the first time. I purchased a journal and I logged everything I could about my pregnancy. I wrote all the details from the moment I discovered I was pregnant, to the day I delivered a healthy baby girl. I documented the results of each doctor’s appointment, what my body experienced during this life-altering event, and the names my husband and I had discussed. Years later, I completed a second journal when I found out I was expecting our son. As the children have grown, I’ve filled those journals and started a second one for each child. With my fast-paced life, I don’t get to write as often as I like, but I try to document important events or things I think the children will find interesting one day. I truly enjoy journaling, and I believe it is a lost art form.
When it comes to reading, I’ve read more books as an adult than I ever did as a child. For some reason, I couldn’t get lost in a book until I was well into my teenage years. I finally found a novel about a teenage love, and as I read, I found myself escaping into the story and playing the main character. As I grew older, I developed a love for novels written by Nicholas Sparks. I have read all of Sparks’s books, typically buy his new books shortly after their release, and dive right into reading. Just like when I was a teenager, I still find myself lost in the book as the lead character. Before novels about love stories, my earliest recollection of reading was a book of poems called Falling Up, by Shel Silverstein. I could read the poems repeatedly and was fascinated by the stories or messages he was trying to convey. For example, one poem I recall is “The Voice,” which describes how one listens to her conscience. Not long after reading Falling Up, my English class began to learn about Edgar Allen Poe. Poe’s poetry varied from Silverstein’s as it was dark and dreary. I became so fascinated by poems that I attempted to experiment with writing my own poetry. I wrote a few poems and even submitted a few to an online poetry publishing site. It didn’t take me long to discover poetry was harder than I thought, and that I should stick to reading and not writing it.
Overall, I enjoy writing more than reading. I still occasionally get lost in a good Nicholas Sparks book, but I am found more often documenting in my journals about my children and the exciting things they do. Every once in a while, when life gets crazy, I’ll pick up my diary and start writing about the craziness until my feelings have escaped me. I don’t know that my history of literacy is all that exciting, but everyone must start somewhere, and mine began with a castle, a princess, and a unicorn.