I forgot to post yesterday. How ’bout that.
For my pedagogy class (the one I did a presentation in the other day), I’ve been working on a literacy narrative, so I’ve been thinking though some of the significant events in my development as a reader and writer. If you know me well, you know that there’s a lot for me to choose from, and they’re pleasant memories because reading and writing was always, always positive for me. But whenever I think about my development as a writer, I always think of my first reading of Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury in ninth grade because that’s when I really learned to love the written word. I liked writing before it, and I wrote a lot, and I was good at it. But after I read the book, I wanted to be a writer. It changed the way I approached writing. And I can’t think about that without also thinking about the way that my ninth grade English teacher, Mr. Monroe, shaped my writing skills with his comments on my papers. And I still have those papers, so I pulled them out to look at them. And that led me to thinking about my humanities class my senior year, also with Mr. Monroe, and so I pulled out my response journal to peruse and ended up reading the whole thing. That was the year that I felt like I really developed as a writer, and it was fun to look back over what I had written.
And you know what? I was a pretty darn good writer for a 17 year old, if I do say so myself. And it was fun to remember that. But maybe more than that, it was fun to see myself as I was 10 years ago reflected in those pages. I laughed at myself a lot, and was impressed with myself from time to time, shocked by some of the things I thought about then and had forgotten, and just rolled my eyes sometimes. A lot has changed since then. My life is NOTHING like I thought it would be then. I’ve definitely changed my mind about some of the things I thought then (thank God). I was amused by some of the things I was obviously insecure about and by the things I was very confident about.
My voice is mostly the same now, but the way that I approach writing is, in many ways, very different now than then. I’m a much better rhetor now for sure, and I’ve discovered the wonders of harnessing the writing process. Back then, I was concerned almost exclusively with words and phrasing; I don’t know if I ever thought about structure at all. Now I think about both. Then, I was only interested in creative writing. Now, I also love academic writing, maybe even more than creative writing.
But maybe the biggest difference is that back then, I loved to write just for the sake of writing, for the beauty of the written word. I wrote all the time. These days, I guess I’m just not as passionate about writing as I was then. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t have the same romantic attitudes about writing now as I did then. That is to say, it’s less about inspiration and more about discipline for me now. Then I tweaked drafts as I wrote (and by “tweaked” I mean I labored over every word) and never really revised. Now I think that revision is the best part, where all the really good stuff happens.
I’m glad I took the time to read my old writing. It’s been a very long time since I have, and it was kind of nice to revisit myself 10 years ago. I’m thankful for a lot of things tonight: for the ways that I was shaped as a writer and as person, that I kept my writing and brought it with me, that I had a reason to look back through it today. And maybe most of all, I’m thankful that this daily blogging, as sloppy and haphazard as it has been, has reminded me that I love to write and share my writing with others. And thankful to you all for reading.