To Write is to Be a Child – Discovering My Vocation to Write, Part Two

As I mention in Part One, I did not plan or expect to write fiction.  Not seriously, at least.  I had been editor of my high school newspaper and, for a brief time, managing editor of my college newspaper.  I wrote for our church newsletter.  I was a member of the “Young Voices” team for the local paper.

In short, I was a young journalist.

My fondest academic memories of college were not of class but of writing.  I especially enjoyed taking a month off from class to write my Senior Essay.  I could have written on Mansfield Park happily for months.

In short, I was a budding academic.

But fiction?

Never crossed my mind.

My fiction rap sheet is short.  I wrote a few Jane Austen fan fic stories in high school.  I wrote a children’s book about two chocolate-covered maraschino cherries to fulfill an AP English assignment.  And my parents tell me that I wrote (drew) stories when I was very, very little.

“Discovering one’s inner child” is a clichéd concept. I’d laugh as much as anyone else… had I not discovered its truth in my own life.

Is it coincidence that I discovered my writing vocation while living with my parents, in my childhood home, after more than ten years of living far away?  I think not. My uncultivated talent is a small green-yellow spout unearthed from under moldering layers of years of forgetfulness.  It lay in the mind, heart, and activity of a little girl, a young storyteller who, for whatever reason, stopped telling stories.

It’s a curious directive, Christ asking us to “be like little children.”  Some people sentimentalize it; I hope I’m not one of them.  Learning to be a child is harder than it seems.  I am used to being an adult; I am used to calling the shots and being an authority.  And here I am, given a chance for “authority” of a different type – that is, of being an author – and I find myself at a loss.  I’ve never done this before.  I have no idea what I’m doing.  I am no authority!

I am an adult, I read fiction like an adult, but I cannot write fiction with the equivalent degree of writing maturity. To say that this is sometimes frustrating would be an understatement.  I know what I want but I cannot yet execute it.

But because I believe that I was given the gift of an idea, I am willing to be small, and humble, and trusting.  I am willing to learn from my teachers.  I am willing to put in the work necessary for seeing this idea grow to completion.  I am willing to make mistakes and to accept the correction of others.

I can’t wear big girl pants until I grow into them.

I was created to be a writer.  I must become who I was created to be.  It’s a joy to become who I was created to be.

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