Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: When did you start writing? Was it when you were a kid? Maybe when you were in college? Or, are you a late bloomer? What got you started and what were some of the first things you wrote?
Jamie Wallace: I started journaling when I was seven years-old. I know this because I still have the journal (pictured here). On that wintery January day back in 1977 I chose to begin my writing journey by copying part of Shakespeare’s poem, Fairy Song into a humble, spiral-bound notebook that most likely came from the supply closet of the bank where my parents worked.
I only vaguely remember the children’s poetry anthology in which I discovered the magical and whimsical lines, but I remember quite clearly the feeling of putting them down in my book. Even then, I knew there was great power in words. I felt very grown up as I carefully placed each letter and formed each word. Some part of me grasped the fact that these words had outlived the author who had written them. I caught a glimpse of immortality.
Since then, I have continued to journal alongside my other writing. Though I make my living as a copywriter, dabble in essays and journalism, and aspire to writing a novel, I will never give up my journaling practice. I rarely re-read my entries, but I love the quiet moments of intimate solitude that journaling provides – a few moments to commune with my own thoughts. What a gift in this otherwise crazy and chaotic world.
Lisa J. Jackson: I can’t remember the exact age, but I started officially writing (I suppose) with my first diary. I’ve always loved to read, and I do remember learning to write in first grade (kindergarten was more for my artistic side with painting and drawing, it seems). Being able to craft my own words on my own pieces of paper was, and still is, a remarkable feeling for me. I admire the Native American habit of verbal storytelling, and am in awe at how generations are still telling the stories their great-great-great-great-great grandparents told. But, I love the art and physicality of writing. Typing is a time saver, for sure, and fabulous for productivity, but it’s pen-to-paper that feeds my soul daily. Doesn’t matter if I’m journaling, taking notes, making a shopping list, or writing for business, if there’s a pen or pencil in my hand, and paper under it, it’s bliss. I simply love writing.
Julie Hennrikus: What a great question. I think the “ah ha” moment came in fifth grade, when I wrote a poem for class and my mother said “wow, this is terrific”. It had never occurred to me that I could bring a reader joy until then. But I don’t think I really started to write until I was in my twenties, and realized I could write to please myself.
Deborah Lee Luskin: I started keeping a diary when I was nine, after reading Anne Frank’s. I started each entry, “Dear Kitty,” just like her.