Why I Write

It all started with the little red memo book--thirty-three years later, I'm still writing.

It all started with the little red memo book–thirty-three years later, I’m still writing.

I write to know that I am not alone…ok, I admit it—I write because I want to change the world, one letter at a time.

My love affair with words began my eighth year when I realized that by refusing to read in school (I hated those inane ‘Dick and Jane’ books), I had denied myself a wonderful world of adventure and intrigue.

It all started when my dad, who read to us every night (Sam Campbell books, Vulpes, the Red Fox and other stories about nature and animals), chose to read The Summer of My Falcon. The story sucked me in, and I groaned when he closed the book at a cliffhanger. I grumbled as I stomped off to bed and plotted my next move.

When the house quieted, I crept down the stairs and stealthily snagged the book from the coffee table then skipped up the stairs. I huddled under my covers, flipped on my  flashlight and inhaled the book—a real book with real characters and a real plot that made me want to read and read and read. I’ve been a chain reader ever since.

Fast forward six years and I remain a gawky, gangly, sometimes grumpy (my parents claim my terrible twos lasted from 18 months to 18 years) teenager who feels as if she has no friends in the world and that no one understands her.  I waded into the wonderful world of Harlequin romances–where the heroine never sits shyly in the corner, always has perfectly coifed hair and always got the good-looking wealthy man by the end of the book.  After reading countless romances, I knew I could write one, too.

I pulled out my grandmother’s old electric typewriter and a sheaf of onionskin paper and started to pound out the great Harlequin romance.  I worked tirelessly for two weeks, taking covert peaks at other writer’s Harlequin’s to make sure I was following the formula.  But I realized that all those love stories seemed to leave me empty and alone–even my brilliant manuscript.  So I started writing in a journal.

At first, I wrote to “Dear Kitty.”  This soon grew old.  Anne Frank had died in the Holocaust and it seemed silly to copy someone else’s great idea.  I realized that the only one who knew me through and through yet still promised to befriend me was my heavenly Father. For the last thirty-three years I’ve written daily to my best friend.

That daily practice of writing has done two things. It has assured me that I am NOT alone. Answered prayers, problems solved, peace in trauma and medical miracles all prove that I am NEVER alone. The daily writing has also honed my writing skills and aspirations beyond wanting to write a best-selling Harlequin.

I don’t find it easy to call myself a ‘writer.’ I currently sit on three mostly completed manuscripts (not counting the 80 pages of my wonderful Harlequin…), but I feel paralyzed and so I wait and I wonder what to do next.

And yet I feel a gentle urging from my best friend to push on. I need to set aside my fears of rejection (I’m still that shy girl at heart, I guess) and quit writing just for me and for Him and to know that I’m not alone. The time has come to look towards loftier goals and hope that my letters and words will show someone else that THEY are not alone.

I may never write ‘the great’ anything, but I CAN share my thoughts and hopes and aspirations and hope that they will touch someone else’s life and lead them to a deeper knowledge of who they are and can become through a love that is greater than any romance novel.

Why do you write?

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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