January 29, 2012

I'm no Ms. Dillon..

I've always had the writing bug, since I was very small. Actually, I started out by having the chatterbox/storytelling bug. Drove my mother NUTS. I can remember being as young as five and just blabbering on about how Baby Beth stole a chocolate chip cookie from Ernie. Our long rides to and from the doctor's office (I had strep and ear infections A LOT) would be flooded with my infamous tall tales. I cannot imagine how badly my mother wanted to strangle me. The point being - I always had something to say. And I would tell anyone who would listen to me for forty seconds.

I took that passion for words with me on my journey through Kindergarten. My teacher was impressed by my level of intelligence when it came to reading, drawing and writing. And not so impressed by my bossiness and "you're not doing it right" comments to the other children. Hey, we can't all be perfect. But I did earn the Super-Kid rainbow badge on several occasions I'll have you know. My mom has saved one for me in fact. :)

As I grew older I kept my love of writing very close. I was the kid with the big smile on my face when teachers assigned a poem for homework. I was also the kid who wrote several extra poems for friends who just didn't have a rhyme in their blood. And my smile only grew as those kids got A's. I remember essays that I had written throughout my school years and how those words made people laugh out loud. What a great feeling. I had a great sense of pride knowing that I had a real sense of humor and it stuck out like Jan Brady at an ice cream social. 

My father would often take business trips and I would secretly place my latest works in his briefcase for him to find on the plane. He would grade me on them, crossing out phrases, adding questions in the margins... junk like that. My father was no English major so I have no idea why I thought I needed his critique, but I enjoyed getting the feedback. When I was about twelve I was sure I was writing the next great American novella. After getting roughly forty pages in I realized I had merely combined The Outsiders and Stand By Me. Drat. My first lesson of how "write what you know" can ultimately destroy you. What can I say, I was twelve. I knew of my obsession with River Phoenix and Ponyboy. Needless to say, the novella was scrapped and I went back to keeping my daily journal and writing poems about the ever-changing sky.

I took creative writing courses in high school. Sailing through with A+'s and my teachers' constant praise I was sure that I would be a writer in my adult life. One teacher, Ms. Dillon, encouraged me to never stop writing. To write everyday. To submit all of my works to magazines and newspapers and to never quit when rejected. With her help, I was able to get two of my poems published that year. She went so far as to bring me brochures of colleges that would suit me. I was positive that I would go on to study English and become a creative writ... no, a teacher of creati... wait. WHAT COULD I BECOME?? Shit. That's when it happened.

I was stumped. 

I didn't want to be a teacher. No part of me wanted to teach anybody anything. I knew nothing about being an Editor - if I had looked into it then, that's probably where I'd be today. I really thought that my only options were these: to become a teacher, to be the next Stephen King or to transport myself to 18th Century England. Only, I wasn't Ms. Dillon. I'm surely not the master Mr. King and I'm no John Keats. I'm just Sheri. And Just Sheri didn't have the confidence or assertiveness to pursue anything at age eighteen. 

I never stopped writing. I've kept a journal since I was twelve years old. I write poetry, I enter essay contests and I even have my first children's book written. I plan to write more and I will never stop trying to get them published. My blog is fun for me. It gives me the satisfaction that I need some days. I like to know that people are reading and hopefully enjoying my words. I am fully aware that my sentences run on too long sometimes (like this one) and that I shouldn't begin them with the words AND or BUT. I illegally use punctuation and grammar. I use italics and quotes and three dots in succession ALL THE TIME. Whatever. I never said I put to memory everything I ever learned in English class. To me, it's the quality of the material and not so much the placement of the comma. The writing bug will always be in my veins and I wouldn't have it any other way dot dot dot. 



  1. Here, here! I was an English major in college, and even still, I break grammar rules all the time. You're absolutely right; it's not about punctuation or proper grammar and all about telling the story well.

    You sounded a lot like me as a child. Vivid imagination with hundreds of stories to tell...definitely one of things that makes a writer great.

    1. Thanks Katie! I think I may have majored in English if I could have known there would be an internet and a blog world and so many awesome avenues down the road. Where was that crystal ball?

      I still feel like I have so many stories to tell... I'm just a lot pickier about which ones to share ;o)

      Thank you for reading :)

  2. As I'm reading this, I'm thinking, "this was me; this is me!" We're so much alike, we're like kindred spirits. The only difference being that I was not a chatterbox when I was a child. On the contrary, I tended to be more on the quiet side but asked questions endlessly. ENDLESSLY!!! To this day I have yet been able to curb this little flaw - or, dare I say, gift - of mine! Hey, I've always been inquisitive and that just makes for good writing. Enjoyed your post.

    1. Oh asking questions is the key to a wise mind! I wasn't a big question asker -- I think as a kid I may have felt that I was a little bit of a know-it-all. (Which is horrifying to me now haha)

      That's funny that we have a lot in common - I can't wait to sit and read some more of your posts!

      Thank you again for reading :)

  3. I had the same experience, wondering what I could 'do' if all I wanted was to write. I didn't want to teach either. I became a journalist. I wrote for newspapers, and eventually websites for nearly 15 years. I'm still writing, but not for pay. You can't stop writing, you just have to find different outlets.

    (I found this archived post thru The Lightning)

  4. Tara, we are lucky to live in a time when there are so many avenues. When I was in high school it seemed there were three choices - NOW it's almost endless. I'm glad you were able to find your "fit" :o)

    I'll never stop writing, it's just in my blood.

    Thank you so much for reading!


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