The assemblage clapped as the speaker sat down. There was a moment of shuffling and whispers as the next speaker at the support meeting took the stage. He stood for a moment, sizing up the microphone and the crowd, before leaning slightly forward.
“Hello,” he began, “my name is Tom, and this is my first meeting. I’ve been living with creative writing for, well, twenty seven years now. At least that’s as far back as I remember it.” The speaker looked suddenly frightened, and it took a reassuring nod from the councilor in the back corner to keep him going.
“For me,” he continued “it wasn’t like the rumors you hear. I didn’t catch it from some beautiful poet in a bar. It didn’t, uh, rub off on me via limerick in a bathroom stall. I never find myself trying to scratch the itch through back alley journal editing.
“I think I’ve always had it. I know my grandfather had it. He was always writing journals and making scrapbooks about trips he’d been on. Mom keeps a journal too. She obviously has it; I just don’t think she’s ready to accept that yet. It took me forever to finally come out and start telling people that, yes, I enjoy creative writing and I’m alright.
“When you’re young it can be really tough. I remember that other kids at school used to look at me like I was an alien. I’d use words like ostentatious or ambidextrous and they’d laugh because they couldn’t understand me. It’s not cool to know more than the norm. I tried to make books for them to enjoy; comics or little choose-your-own-adventures. These got me friends for a bit, but they’d all get bored and move on. I tried to run the high school newspaper, but nobody else would write.
“It really used to bother me. But for anyone here today who is still struggling I want to tell you that it gets better. You have to persevere but you can make it through. Don’t get upset when you hear someone say irregardless. Look past all the poor grammar on our public signs.”
At this point, an exciting voice from the crowd shouted “It’s ‘Ten items or fewer’ not less! God, I can hardly stand to buy groceries anymore!”
Tom raised his hands placating. “I know,” he said, “I know. I couldn’t stand it either. But you have to move on and see that you’re not alone. There are all kinds of others, just like us, who are going through the same ordeals. You’re part of a community, an international family. They write, just like you write, and struggle and try to share and be heard. We all have something to give. Just because we’re not all rockstar-Rowling, greater-than-Shakespeare, shoot-to-the-top-wordsmiths, doesn’t mean that our voices aren’t important too. Sometimes, in the middle of being asked what you’re writing does for anyone, it’s easy to forget. I know I do. Anyways that’s all I guess; just don’t let it get you down.” He nodded, and sat down.
(Pic via Campari & Sofa)