I’ve been writing for YEARS. Yeah, you read that right. YEARS.
When I was in 6th or 7th grade, I wrote a version of Die Hard where I was John Mcclane and the entire story was from MY point of view. Obviously I took some liberties with the source material but I had my class riveted while reading it aloud. Something that never quite sat right with me was my choice of words in one particular passage where my character comes across an innocent victim. I wrote that my character “reminisced” about said victim’s family. Even to this day, 20 something years later, it irks me because it never really flowed right.
When my younger sister went into the hospital back in 1990 with pneumonia, I wrote a 12-13 page essay about the experience. It was the first time I can remember crying as I wrote something. I think that of all the writings I never got back, that one stings the most. My sister had another round of pneumonia in 1991 and she didn’t make it through that one and she passed away at age 8. I truly sunk my heart and soul into that work. I actually turned it in to my 9th grade English teacher and when I asked for it back was told he had misplaced it.
It’s actually a bummer that these previous writings have vanished from my hands. Perhaps they are languishing in a file cabinet somewhere back in Nebraska waiting to be read by whoever stumbles across them.
As a writer (and if you feel the same way) it seems that there is a certain “ownership” of our writings. The words we’ve used in the place of other words, the organization of the sentence, all of those little nuances that make our work OURS is what allows us to feel like we have created something unique. Something that is distinctly a part of ourselves.