Several years back I participated in a reading at a local bookstore, along with several other writers. The topic chosen for us was a personal essay on what writing means to me. Here is my essay/reading in full. I hope you enjoy it.
The Euphoria of Prose
My gift for writing was inherited from my mother, which is one of the reasons I cherish it so much. She was always writing letters to the editor of our local newspaper and to her four children. She also composed many poems. Her thoughts expressed through the love of the written word were instilled deep within me. Poems were never my strong point, but I have found pleasure in following her lead with both letters to the editor and to my three daughters. My writing began at eight years old with a story about my family.
For me, writing is like dancing. Both allow me to release the passion inside, while everything else is lost in time. Words and thoughts interweaving may be compared to partners who are so in sync with each other that they become one. Each word, like a step, represents part of the whole dance. without each step in its proper place, there is no dance, only movements. The words may glide gracefully across the page as a waltz or spin wildly like a mambo. Dance is a form of communication as are words. They connect you to another person. Those feelings can be carried over into other phases of your life too. A dancer must keep the body fit as does the writer the mind to continue in their means of self-expression.
Constant in my life has always been a stack of journals and a healthy supply of writing utensils. The scent and texture of a new journal with its pages yet to be filled with ideas, sketches, and scribbles is exhilarating. They have accompanied me throughout my life, during happy times and sad, and have recorded the important events in my life. My experiences and travels remain chronicled and comprise a legacy for my daughters, a narrative, memoir, and diary of journals taken both literally and metaphorically.
There are many wonderful occasions to employ words in their various forms. In thirty years, I have penned short stories, poems, letters, essays, reports, speeches, and outlines with them. It wasn’t until this year (2014) that my first book was published. The thrill of seeing it in print was tremendous! My second is soon to follow while I work on transforming a screenplay into a historical fiction novel. Turning my paper dreams into tangible dreams is a wonderful feeling.
The sculptor Manuel Arjona Leonardi put the value of paper dreams (‘Sueños del Papel’) in perspective. He said, “This material is human-like, smooth when new, and wrinkled when old. If you leave it, it will disappear. If you care for it, and nurture it, it will survive.”
Writing has assisted me with self-reflection, aided me through periods of melancholy, and allowed me to express my love and admiration for other human beings. Thankfully, the written words are also present when my memory fails me during my much too premature senior moments.
If my words evoke joy, sadness, excitement, love, or reflection, they have accomplished their purpose. When I see the reaction of someone engrossed in my work, I have the satisfaction of knowing I have affected them in a special way. Therefore, the dedications in my novels will include the following: “I dedicate this book to all who read it and are touched by it.”
Sometimes a twenty-dollar word is used to say what could be expressed by a ten-cent one. Writers have that choice. The thought to be conveyed and its essence determines which volition will be utilized, but not forsaking the responsibility of choosing without diminishing the meaning of the thought.
Characters build on words. There have arisen Casanovas and Cassandras, lords and ladies, princes, and paupers. They are sent to islands, mountains, fame, fortune, and destitution. They possess imaginative and impartial, sacred, and salient, vexatious, and vicious personalities. Some become married, divorced, and widowed, while others remain single, while all try their best to deal with their lot in life. Several have been known to change their stripes, while others refuse to conform to the world around them.
Though observed in black and white, the words once read, appear in color. My goal as a writer is to have the power of my words make a lasting impression on my readers; enabling them to be transported to a place other than where they stand at that moment. They should hunger for more and not be satisfied until the last word is delivered. The thoughts revealed are my own but may be embraced by those who pour over them.
I feel privileged to be among those who can express themselves with words and choose to share those words with others. Without being able to do this, I wonder what outlet I would have chosen to express my true self. Of all the things that have come and gone in my life, writing has always remained with me. Writing truly makes me happy and affords me the opportunity to be who I am without constraint. Anyone who knows me will tell you this is a large part of who I am as a person. They will probable also tell you, I tend to talk about it quite a bit, maybe even too much. But they know that this nurturing process called writing carries over into other parts of my life also. Of all the stories I have written, the one that is dearest to me is the one I wrote for my mom. Thankfully, I was able to finish it before she died. She read it just two months beforehand. I know that I was able to give back to her part of the gift she gave to me. I titled it simply, “Mom”. It was a compilation of thoughts, poems, and stories from my treasure box of memories. The dedication was of course to her, thanking her for all the years of love, trust, confidence, support, and encouragement.
Being able to take my readers to different places, times, cultures, etc. through the many pages of written words is a gift I take pride in giving. Without the joy received from writing, I would be missing out on one of life’s many pleasures. Long live paper dreams.
Thoughts on Writing
The clean, white pages of a new journal beckon to be touched by the ink of a gracefully flowing pen
A crisp, pure, blank page, transforms into a treasure, story, or poem
Becoming a personal creation, part of the inner self, and window to the soul
Complete, it waits for others to read and experience it, become part of it, let it transcend them to places real or imagined
Possessing the power to make others laugh, cry, and show emotions otherwise kept hidden deep within
Being able to enjoy writing and reading the printed words should not be something from a time in the past, but instead a wonderful pastime to be cherished and given to others as a gift for generations to come