Raw, First Draft, Unedited Me

I remember the weeks and years of questions and despair over what would become of my writing. My writing was like a troubled child and I, a co-dependent, over-bearing, worrywart mother. “You cannot go out like that!” I’d say. “For God’s sakes, put on some make-up and do your hair, tuck in your tummy, get a job and stop hanging around with those juvenile delinquents! Can’t you be more like Flannery or Bob who is erudite and literary?” Meanwhile, my writing was trying to learn, to breathe, to play, to explore, to figure out who and what it wanted to be. You can’t ask a kindergartener to declare a major. You can’t force a free spirit into military school. You can’t make a toddler perform on demand with no margin for error, no room to fall down, to learn the magic and beauty of undirected play. Well, you can, but there is a price to pay. And so, in my writing classes I have looked to the greats and I have looked within. I have looked to my students and I have looked to the page. And I’ve been learning to foster, nurture and gently encourage rather than demand, control and berate. I’m learning how to experiment and dare without expectation, judgment, grades, ratings, threat of detention, expulsion or ex-communication. I’m letting my writing have dirty hands and windblown hair. I’m letting my writing exist as it wants to be, rather than how I would have it be with my literary degree and snobby, academic, elitist expectations of Great Art. This is it. Ten minutes of raw, first draft, unedited me.