Storytelling With Pen and Paper
When I tell people I am a writer, they usually have one of two responses, some say “Ohh,” and then gaze off into the distance as if there is not much more to say. I might as well have said I was an elephant. They cannot relate to what I do or who I am any more than if I had a giant trunk and ate copious amounts of leafy greens all day. And that’s OK.
Others, however, ask questions. “Have you always been a writer?” “What do you write?” “That’s so interesting,” they’ll say. “I’ve always wanted to write.”
Everyone is a writer in that when you put pen to paper and create a sentence, well, you have written. But, writing well is a craft, a practice that takes time and effort. We are not all experts, we are not all skillful, we are certainly not all successful.
The question typically comes to this: does your writing tell a story? And that is where I find myself in a heavenly place. And in a hellish place. There are days when the words flow from ideas in my head, dreams I have that become stories I share on paper.
And then there are days when the jumble of that which goes on inside my brain spews out like so many nonsensical sentences and I leave it to sit and stew, knowing that someday, in some way it might become worthy of being read.
But I cannot not write. I have tried, and I became lost in the space in my head where the dreams and the stories get so mixed up they force themselves out onto a journal page or my computer screen or a cocktail napkin.
The words have to be written to record my experience, to share my feelings and hopes, my disappointments and struggles, my successes and my sorrows, my grocery lists. Anything and everything, I must put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, hand to SmartPhone screen.
I must write. It’s in me from the poetry and journals of my early youth to the white papers and technical writing of my corporate career, to the fiction, page after laborious page. All of it. It is in me. For you who paint masterpieces, build skyscrapers, code software, I am in awe of your skill. I can merely write.