Saturday, May 07, 2011
Portrait of the Writer as a Young Lady
Like I said, I was a very contented writer.
For nearly a decade afterwards, I was happy to write for my own amusement—my audience having slipped away to careers and cities far from our suburban hometown—and I did so, churning out a dizzying amount of trash. Writing mainly in one specific genre, I never strove for originality. I never edited my work but I did re-read it frequently, the way I re-read my favourite authors in that same category. In my head, I was equal to those best-selling published authors. Hey, I enjoyed reading my own work, didn’t I?
Occasionally, I would enter a writing contest, most frequently the one put out by my local newspaper, which offered a fantastic cash prize. At sixteen, I had won a local arts award as an ‘emerging writer’. I got to meet the mayor and June Callwood handed me my award. Aside from the plastic trophy, which I kept on my bedside table until I knocked it over one night and my mother had to perform sloppy glue-based surgery, I won a writing course by correspondence. This package sat in my closet for several years until it grew old and dusty enough to throw away.
What did I need courses for? I was a writer already. A young, unpublished, unknown writer. But the adjectives were only qualifiers. All that was needed to erase them was time.
Over the years I acquired a degree and a day job exciting enough to hold my interest and weighty enough to impress strangers. It should have been enough. It was enough for long stretches of time. But I was still furtively constructing stories and churning out genre novels—I completed at least ten while I was at school and then working. I was still a writer.
But what was I doing about my writing career?
Photo courtesy of Keattikorn at freedigitalphotos.net