I want my crayons back

“Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” Often attributed to Red Smith.

I’m a writer. I know that now.

I probably knew it when I was twelve or thirteen. In high school I had a creative writing teacher tell me “never stop writing.”

But I did. And, I regret that.

Hugh MacLeod, author of Ignore Everybody; and 39 Other Keys to Creativity and cartoonist at Gaping Void says:

“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.'”

Now, forty years later, I want my crayons back. I finally know what I want to be when I grow up.

No, it’s not what I want to be. It’s what I am. It’s who I am.

I am a writer.

The struggle now is not that I don’t have things to say. I have plenty of things to say. But the struggle is to find a way to say them that also pays the bills and feeds the family.

So as I continue on this path I find that much of the writing I do is utilitarian. It’s not the great southern American novel that I want to write. That’s coming. In fact bits and pieces of it are already done.

But I’m just not yet to the point where I can be a full time author. Until then I craft words to sell things, to entice you to read things, to entice you to vote for certain candidates.

I do that because I am a writer. I may not be a good one. I may not be a successful one.

But I am one.

And that wee voice is saying “pass the magenta.”

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