Passion for Writing


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"When did you first know that you were a writer?"   

That question stopped me in mid bite during the conference meal.  I knew the answer immediately although I'd never consciously considered this before. Gathered around lunch at a writer's conference we all discussed our motivation and call to writing. 

My earliest writing memory originated in eighth grade English. Mrs. Gilbert opened my senses to the writing process. She used cherry sours, picture prompts, and music to help us tap into our feelings to get them onto paper. 

The first story was assigned, graded and returned - all except mine. Instead the teacher called out my name and asked me to stay after class. I felt apprehensive until she asked, "Did you copy this story from a magazine?" 

This question could have struck fear in many students. However, a thrill started in my stomach and worked its way up to a broad smile which spread across my face. I knew I didn't cheat or copy the story from a published source. It was my first writing attempt and my teacher thought it was good enough to be published.  

From that day forward, I thought of myself as a writer. 

The Maestro’s Call

A lone figure walks to the center of the stage in the cavernous music hall and sits before a grand piano. There is a pause of silence with closed eyes and hands resting atop the keys. I wonder what goes on behind those eyelids. Whatever it is, it draws out of the musician such beautiful melodious sounds that to me it is a mystery.

I am envious because I desire to express such beauty. I am thrilled to listen to the outcome but I want to participate. It seems a miracle out of reach to me.

Every member of my family is musical. When others ask what I play, my answer is, “The CD.” I sit mesmerized and envious through piano, voice and orchestra concerts. When your children take as many lessons as mine have, you sit through many musical performances.

I do not understand music. I hear words like scale, arpeggio, and staccato but they have no meaning. I hold up flashcards to my youngest children and help them learn the notes and terms. To me it is another language. I’m absolutely tone deaf. I cannot fathom the intricate inner workings of symphony pieces. I do not understand what musicians hear or what they work on.

In my writing journey, I was first drawn to words. I loved to read; beautiful passages would strike a resonating chord deep within me. I liked the sound that certain words made when read side by side. I fell in love with the subtle shadow effects created by symbolism and the way words made me feel. I loved being transported by excellent descriptions. I could feel themes reverberate through a literary piece like an echo in a winding canyon.

Being made in the image of God, my creative desire was emerging. I always tended to focus my picture of God on His acts of discipline, His required sacrifices, and His crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. However, as I grew in my knowledge of Him, I learned that His first recorded acts are His creation. As I have grown to be more like Him, I have learned that to be like Him is to create. Some create with music, others with paint or sewing machine or drafting tools. Something in me wants to create by expressing beautiful, sad or even liberating thoughts with words.

I began to take courses. I learned to work on pieces over and over, shifting words or phrases, listening to their sound.

Now as I sit before my keyboard, I gather my tools around me. They aren’t sheet music, a metronome, or music stand but a dictionary, thesaurus, Bible and laptop. I see the picture in my mind of the lone figure on the piano bench. My keys are not attached to a grand piano. But this typing keyboard has become my instrument to create. I close my eyes and listen to the Maestro.