I’m Not a Writer, I Just Write


 

As many of you know, I weave. But I am not comfortable when I am labeled a weaver because, well, in my humble opinion, I don’t have enough experience. I don’t weave every day and it is not the whole of my experience. I enjoy it. Sometimes it really is exciting. But some days I read a book or (gasp) watch television.

Today I ran across an article by Christina Garton on a website for Interweave entitled “When You Don’t Feel Like a ‘Real’ Weaver” . Her analysis was spot when she wrote:

“First of all, if you know how to weave and have woven in the past, then you are indeed a weaver. Think about it; we don’t apply this logic to authors. Harper Lee published exactly 2 books 55 years apart, and yet she is and was always described as “author Harper Lee.” I’m not saying any of my projects could be described as the To Kill a Mockingbird of weaving, but I do believe that in the grand scheme of life, the universe, and everything, a year or 2 (or 10) between weaving projects is not that big of a deal.”

I feel I am not a “real” weaver because I don’t weave all the time, it is not an all consuming hobby and I am still a rookie.

But I AM a real weaver. I read the books. I study the structures. I exam the colors and shapes around me. I think about what I would like to do next.

The same holds true for my writing. I am more than reluctant to call myself a writer. I have never written a book. I have no backlog of short stories or ideas. I don’t devote hours and hours to creating something with words. I don’t worry about being published. (dream about it and then laugh, maybe.)

I wrote in high school. I was editor of the paper. What I wrote then was immature and naive. I never considered putting myself into anything I wrote. There was much too much to hide from myself, never mind others!

I went to a writing festival for high school newspaper kids and was told that I didn’t have the discipline to write. I had a couple of teachers who thought differently but the public humiliation stayed with me. I wrote my share of papers in college and always got good grades and the occasional accolade but there was a basket over my light. I wasn’t a writer.

As a lawyer, I wrote a lot. Dry, dreary legal briefs coughing up the legal  reasoning of someone else and fitting it to the facts of my case. I could put myself to sleep just writing it. Reading it required No-Doz.

After all, I wasn’t a writer.

In my mind, my skills as a lawyer came in the physical courtroom opposing a District Attorney in front of a skeptical judge and a jury of 12. Some saw me as an educator teaching the elements of reasonable doubt and the need for the presumption of innocence. Others nicknamed me “The Great Obfuscatrix”! My closing arguments rarely came with notes. A few bullet points and that was it. Everything else, the words, the patterns, the inflections, the timing, came from somewhere else in my brain.

After all, I was not a writer.

Then in December of 2010, my brother died. I started a blog called “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”. My first post was entitled “He is Gone” . (there is a link on my WP homepage to the entire blog). It was a way to release all the grief and anger and despair that was raging inside of me. I wrote when I felt like it and didn’t think about it until I needed to do it again. I eventually started Talkin’ to Myself to talk about other things. It was a good outlet. It wasn’t to write.

After all, I was not a writer.

Then I went to Antarctica.

And I had to write. I had to write about the beauty and my insignificance. I had to write about penguins and seals and whales. I had to try and explain what the Seventh Continent meant to me. That is how I got to this blog platform.

During these last few months I have “met” others like me. Then I “met” people who liked my writing (or said they did). Some of them were ‘real’ writers. I began to think that maybe I could “write”. But the things I wrote were short and of no significance to anyone. It was blather. Sometimes cute, sometimes banal, sometimes very real but generally my perceptions and feelings could be seen through the words.

I began to like it. I began to think about the words in a context other than speaking. I began to read lots of blogs. I began to read ‘real’ stories by ‘real’ writers. And poetry, I read real touching, soul searching poetry. I began to think I could, with lots of time, become a writer.

Then Antarctica struck again.

As a result of that trip, I had decided to design and weave a traditional Scottish tartan that reflected what I saw and felt in Antarctica. I wrote about it. My weaving instructor passed on my blog to the editor of a magazine called “Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot” which is publication for the Handweavers Guild of America. That woman read the blog posts and called me.

An hour and a half later, she was sending me a contract to write about my experiences and the tartan project. I was thrilled. (understatement there). But I was also terrified.

After all, I was not a writer.

The issue is due out within a few days. I have the printing proof and I love it. The editing was minimal and the photos were all mine (except one which was of me…..). And that headed me to the next step.

Today I signed up for the Central Coast Writers Conference which is to be held at the end of September here in San Luis Obispo County. I will be taking 6 workshops, have one personal critique session, and attend an all day Master Class (no more than 20 attendees). I am going to learn a lot.

I did this because…

After all, I write.

I am a writer.

 

 

Categories: Antarctica, Tartan, Uncategorized, Weaving, WritingTags: , ,

29 comments

  1. A really super piece!! I loved it!! I have felt like you did – hence my moniker – The Reluctant Poet. If you like poetry you might find the book – Poemcrazy (available on Amazon) to be interesting and of help. It surely was for me! Come check out the reblog – RENEGADE – a one word writing prompt – on my blog. Try it. You may like it. I have also fallen in love with Haiku (come see what you think). It’s short, sweet, simple and done! And Fun! Check out the blog Haiku Out Of Africa!
    Chuck
    xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll be happy to hear about your experiences there, Gael!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hellz yes, you’re a writer. GO YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Terrifying and exciting! I’m so thrilled for you, Gizzylaw. And that tartan is super gorgeous.

    Like

  5. As one who has published writing and photography, I so identify with the thoughts you express here. Internally I feel only the very best can be described as writer or photographer – yet I am really both. The labels can actually be confining when they are only part of what we do or who we are. As you can see, I found the post thought-provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re a writer and a good one at that!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A great post. All of us who blog have, I’m sure, entertained doubts at some point about whether we are writers – whatever ‘writers’ may actually be. The fact that people respond positively to your words is what is important, not some arbitrary designation. Enjoy the workshop – your writing deserves the recognition!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you, Chuck! Happy for the input and glad to know your name!

    Like

  9. You, as always, are my hero! You have been very much, a part of this journey. I thank you 😊 from the bottom of my heart ❤️

    Like

  10. You have been a huge part of this journey. HUGE! I cannot possibly thank you 😊 enough. Someday I would like to sit with you and Ann over a cup of tea. What stories we could tell!

    Like

  11. Thank you 😊, Derrick! For being on WP, for writing, for photographing your world and for being a part of my journey. I truly appreciate everything that you do. It always teaches me something!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Much appreciated, Gael 🙂

    Like

  13. Congrats! I look forward to reading more from you!

    Like

  14. According to Pat Schneider author of Writing Alone and with others – “A writer is someone who writes”. Congrats and keep writing.

    Like

  15. There are many aspects that combine to create who we are. Each one of them is valid and shouldn’t be discarded. We can’t know the beauty of a puzzle if one of the pieces is missing.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You’ve got many skills.not only in weaving. It makes you an artist .a really good artist

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you! I need all the encouragement I can get. 😉

    Like

  18. Still lookin’ for some of those pieces! Thank you for your kind words!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. You put finger to key and engage your imagination therefore you write. You also are an Artist a weaver in your own right. Lift up your confidence wear it on your head. Be a nutty writer and take an artistic twirll, you’re doing great!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The Antarctica project is exciting. And it’s a big moment when you permit yourself that label. Obviously you have been a writer for some time, but that’s different from knowing and feeling and embracing that as part of your identity.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. It really is different. I need to let it soak into my being. I am amazed that I really do LIKE words. I know you are on a “break”. I hope it is a great time of learning. I look forward to your post-break posts!

    Liked by 1 person

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