“How long have you been writing?” or “When did you know you wanted to be a writer?”
I really hate those two questions, only because I don’t have a distinct answer. I’m usually very linear with goals, but writing has been a passion full of starts and stops. I took a creative writing class when I was pregnant, but any mother knows your focus changes once a baby arrives. That was a little over ten years ago, and I gave birth to a very creative little story teller. Maybe he was listening in the womb?
The other day I was looking for a drawing I did back in high school, when I came across a bunch of my school papers saved in a box. “Look,” I told my son who was sitting on the bed, “a story I wrote when I was your age.” He asked me to read it to him.
Just like my style today, the amount of autobiography that seeped in was unnerving. The protagonist was a little witch with 21 siblings. She rides around on a vacuum cleaner because her impoverished parents resorted to giving out mops and vacuums after they ran out of brooms.
Felina the witch wants to be an artist, but her family told her she could not become an artist, it was too impractical and she couldn’t do it. Felina flew away from home, heading North East to Paris and Rome. While flying over the Atlantic Ocean she started to have pragmatic concerns; What if her family came looking for her? What if she fell asleep on her vacuum? What if she had to pee? What if the Parisians did not like her paintings? One of her worries did surface and she felt the urge to relieve herself. She did not know what to do, there was nowhere to stop, but she realized the vacuum had two settings. If she switched it to high, she could get there in half the time.
Both the author and the witch are artistic and adventurous. Both are problem solving worry-warts who happen to love maps. Both wanted to escape the limiting mindsets of their families. And both, in fact, did just that.
I’d love to tell you how the story ends, but for some reason my mom only saved three of the four pages and I don’t even remember writing it. At first I felt irritated at the missing last quarter of the story, but then I realized I was glad not to have the fourth page. It gives me an opportunity to think about how I want Felina’s life to go. After all, it is my story to write and I have a blank page in front of me.