Monday, January 31, 2011

Posted by Joanna Luehmann | File under : ,

My aunt, my cousin and I went to Pei Wei to have lunch. Besides the wonderful meal I got a fortune cookie that made me think. 

When I was a junior in high school I wrote a book of short stories and submitted it to a contest. I got first place, which surprised me a bit, but excited me enough to write another one during my senior year. Once again I submitted it to a contest, and once again I got first place. There is something about being a teenager doing what you are passionate about, getting praised for it; you already think you know it all at 17; this kinds of things make you think you could do it all, win it all, beat it all.

In college I started in an engineering major, saying that I wasn't good at it would definitely be an overstatement. I passed all my classes because I was persistent and proud, and my friends would help through my sad inability to understand algorithms. Taking classes I didn't enjoy, studying long hours to try to understand what to others seemed so simple took a toll in that teenage invincibility; not only was I unable to do it all, I started to realize I knew squat.  

In my second year I wrote a poem; after being pushed by friends I submitted it to a contest and got 4th place. I felt accomplished, but my confidence in my writing and my results had dwindled so much it wasn't enough to keep me going. It was enough however to bring the hunger for words back into my life. That's when I started taking literature classes and thinking about double majoring; every class I took was so challenging yet so fulfilling. I felt like I wanted to know more; I wanted to dive in inexistent worlds that had been painted for me years prior by people whose imaginations and unparalleled ability to create marvelous stories were so surreal and admired by me I could barely contain my wonder. 

The classes were difficult, but the more difficult they got the more I felt like the teenage girl with a passion for pages full of words was coming back out of the darkness. I remember taking a Shakespeare class in which I had to read so much literature about the literature I felt like a psychologist trying to determine a prognosis for the characters behaviors. It was fascinating, absorbing, exhilarating; it was like living in one of the books at all times, jumping from science fiction to drama to comedy; from ancient times to 1920 to last week. A train going everywhere was my mind; the only stops happened during my engineering classes were imagination was not only discouraged, it was also mocked.

I've always loved writing, since I can recall I've devoured books like everything around me has disappeared. I've grown less confident on my abilities to write; I feel like ever day I spend without writing I grow further away from the girl with the potential to write contest-wining books. Especially since I moved here where I spend 90% of my day speaking in a foreign language trying to remember words in that beautiful Spanish I miss and have started to butcher every time I talk. 

Since high school I've started 3 different books with 3 completely different subjects. I want to finish all three of them, and let people read them; after all a book not read is hardly a book at all. I want the confident 17 year old who would write almost daily to crawl out of the box where she has been hiding for the last decade.

I am dusting the books I’ve started and hopefully the fortune cookie will be encouragement enough to actually finish them and share them before the calendar brings a new year... we'll see. 

1 comment:

  1. Do it! I'd love to be your 'editor' and read through the drafts - whether in spanish or english :) Although I can't promise too much help in spanish!