Thursday, May 7, 2009

Defined by Writing

I'm getting a lot of fuel from some other blogs out there. Agent Nathan Bransford wrote a blog about how writers should not let themselves be defined by their writing.

Read it here

My friend Mary Walters comments

on her blog the Militant Writer

I want to share how important writing is to me.

I have been writing my whole life, poems, songs, short stories, mostly just for me. Even did a couple articles for the college paper and yearbook at my sister's urging. Never wrote a novel until I was thirty-three, in 2002.

From 1999 to 2002 I ran an in-home daycare. It was a lucrative business. I never had to advertise, all my business came from word of mouth. Living in a nice area, I had great families, and was able to charge fees that allowed me to earn a decent wage, and hire employees to improve my business.

Late in 2001 my mother-in-law was diagnosed with late stage cancer. My husband and I, not wanting her to go into a nursing home, closed the daycare and cared for her in our home with the help of hospice. This was March 2002. It was a full time job as not only did she need nurting and medication, but she also did not have the use of her tongue after her last stroke, so I was also in charge of tube feedings, along with Rusty's sister. I also stayed and talked with her (I talked, she wrote) and sang to her (her favorite was Eight Days a Week). She died 2 1/2 weeks later.

After arrangements had been made and the funeral was held, everyone went back to work and school and I was left alone and grieving, with nothing but time on my hands. That's when I began writing, to bide my time, to help me forget. What started out as a couple pages turned into a few, then many. Driven by mother-in-law and inspired by my children my first novel Dena Powers: Superhero? was born.

Does my writing define me? Not back then. I think the words mold and develop would be more appropriate, for I was just beginning to become the person I am now.

Today I am a writer. Am I now defined by my writing? I would say yes. For me, writing has always been very personal. I put every ounce of energy and emotion into it, so much that it drains me. Much of what I write is based on personal experiences, funny, desperate, tragic, joyous. This makes it very intimate, I could almost equate it to a love affair.

I think this is why so many of us take rejection so hard. We feel we've created something beautiful out of love and passion, and to have someone tell us "it's not good enough" is heartbreaking to say the least.

So for me, as trite as it may sound, writing IS like oxygen. It's something I need to get through, to survive. It's like love and therapy all wrapped up together. So, yes, since my writing comes from that deep, personal part of my being, it is defined by who I am, and I am in turn defined by it as well.

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My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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