I Used to Know a Writer

What is it that makes someone a writer? That’s the question that I’ve been asking myself today.  Two days ago I felt the need to start a new blog.  I acknowledged all the times that people have encouraged me to put my life stories to paper and decided to do it.  Then, today, I sat down at the computer and nothing.  That’s right, nothing came out.

I grew up out in the country, on a farm in southeastern Wisconsin.  My high school graduating class had less than 100 kids.  We were pretty lucky kids though.  We really were the center of the town’s attention.  Whether it was the high school musical, a parade, or a football game we were the ones everyone came to watch.  We were the stars.  I acted, played music, edited the school paper.

Then I went to college.  The campus had about six times as many people as the town that I’d gone to high school it.  It was the big time for this farm girl.

Thursday nights my freshman year began to define me.  Thursday nights led me to the basement of the library, a gathering of the minds, probably the most creative group of out of this world artists I’ve ever had the good fortune to know.  It was University Writers and I became a writer.  I’d written for years, but it was then that I began to share my work, began to look at myself differently, see my thoughts as valuable, creative, and something special.

It’s been a long time since I’ve sat and laughed and shared with those friends in the basement of the library.  Yet, they carry with me.  Here’s a piece that I had published in Barney Street our campus literary magazine my sophomore year.

Little Boy

Little Boy
hiding in the shadows
laughing in the light
colouring a crayola world
running from shades of gray and black
dressing up in soldier clothes
carrying at his side
a gun
and a tear stained knife
Little Boy rides his unicorn
slides down rainbows
in the day
in the evening
puts in his mask
a grown-up masquerade
evil black knight
fearful, dangerous,
angry wolf
and at night
in the midnight darkness
the mask away
Little Boy cries
and prays for day

It’s nearly 30 years later now.  It’s been a long while since I’ve written poetry.  But, the stories continue.  I keep writing, journaling, grants, reports, mostly.  Does it mean that I am still a writer?  I hope so.  It seems time to start work on another chapter.

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