The Art of Writing
My earliest memory of writing was as a very young child. We were on a family vacation in Rocky Point, NY. It was summertime and my father and I sat at a picnic table outside our rental cottage. The weather was warm and sunny as we sat comfortably in the shade. I remember feeling a breeze which brought with it scents from a nearby beach. My baby brother was with my mother in the house, which let my Dad and I spend some quality time together. Life was magical and all was perfect.
On the table in front of me were sheets of paper and a pencil. My father picked up the pencil and handed it to me as we began my first writing lesson. It seemed that I wasn’t holding the pencil properly, and my suspicions proved correct. Luckily, Dad was there to show me the “right” way to hold it. But even at that age I was a bit stubborn and continued to hold to pencil in my own unique way. I guess he got tired of correcting me because to this day I still hold the pencil with my fingers all squashed together.
I’m not sure how much of the alphabet I mastered on that beautiful day, but I did feel that something significant happened. I felt a door open to a new world and I was thrilled to go running through it with delight.
The next two major events in my writing life took place at Wenonah Elementary School. In third grade I participated in a contest and was awarded first place for having the best handwriting in the school. I still remember the items I bought with the five dollar grand prize. And while I paid much attention to my new purchases, I also developed an appreciation for clear, neat legible handwriting. To this day people comment about my handwriting and I think about that contest every single time.
The next big event was in fourth grade when we were given an assignment to write a one page story. My story was entitled, “A Day in The Life of My Hamster.” I think I described my hamster’s cage, his food, the smell of the cedar chips, the wheel and his water bottle. It was my first taste of telling a story and I got an A+. I was hooked.
Shortly after that I began keeping a diary, writing puppet shows with my neighbor and putting pen to paper more than the average child. I enjoyed playing with words, writing poems and creating stories. Everything about writing appealed to me and I declared at the age of ten that I’d write a book some day.
Since then I have written almost every day. Writing is like breathing to me. Even if it’s just a few emails or a Facebook post, I love to express myself through writing. And the added benefit of writing is that I get to stay in touch with all of you; for that alone I am extremely grateful.
But lately I’ve been thinking more about this craft I’ve chosen and how odd it truly is. It seems we’ve all agreed that a certain series of squiggles and spaces (with occasional dots and dashes) have specific meanings. And even without hearing me speak these words you infer my tones and inflections. From the squiggles, dots, dashes and assumed tone you, as a reader, find meaning (or not) in this communication. It may make you laugh, cry, smile, get angry or simply walk away from the computer in boredom. And all of this happens because I chose to move my pen across the paper in a certain way.
As I write this very sentence, my four-and-a-half month old Siamese kitten sits enthralled. She loves watching my hand move around the paper and occasionally puts her paw out to participate in my “game.” She watches me make marks then looks up at me with an inquisitive stare as if to say, “What exactly are you doing?”
And the truth is… I don’t know exactly what I’m doing. All I’m sure of is that I get a feeling in my heart accompanied by thoughts in my head, and together they travel down my arm until they spill out on the paper. From there I can merely hope and wish that something I’ve written, some of my squiggles, dots and dashes will make a difference to someone – even if that someone is only me. Because, you see, as odd as this art of writing truly seems, I just can’t stop. I can’t stop the movement of my hand across the page or the transference of thoughts and feelings through my pen. For better or worse, it is the art form I’ve chosen and I plan on continuing as long as I can hold a pen.
And now I ask you, what moves your heart? What art form or activity is as important to you as breathing? What is your passion? Are you making it part of your every day?
Well, the kitten’s now curled in a tight little ball by my side. She has indicated that it’s time to put my writing away and say good-bye to my friends. So, I thank you all for your beauty, kindness, support and love. You make this crazy art of writing worth it. And I sincerely hope you are as inspired to share your passion and art with the world.
Katrina Mayer is an author, motivational speaker, and founder of www.KatrinaMayer.com