Sunday, January 17, 2010
No, it's not a naughty post.
Two Saturdays a month, I facilitate a free writing group (as a volunteer)for people living with mental illness (like me.) The people who have come to this group have ranged from the highly functioning (as I like to think of myself) to those who have been seriously ill and unable to work.
At last week's class, I only had one person show up, but if I have one person, I consider it worthwhile. It's a new group, anyhow, so we aren't expecting it to "stick" and become known for a few months.
Anyhow, at the end of the previous class I gave "homework" which I also did myself. It was to write about your first memorable experience with writing.
I thought this might be an interesting question to pose to all of you in blogland, seeing as how we connect through our writing.
This is what I came up with:
The first time I remember writing anything was in our new Houston apartment when I was six years old, which would have been late 1982.
Questions occur to me now - such as, how did we find a babysitter so fast after moving to a new state where we knew almost no one? And where were my mother and my brother? And who was this babysitter, and what did she look like? All I remember was that the carpet was an unattractive brown color - is there ever attractive brown carpet, actually? - and we had dared to scatter markers all over the floor because my mother, who later said she wanted the place to "look live no one lives here," was out. The markers had the caps on, of course - even at six, though I had balls, I limited my risk-taking.
I had made a book, out of paper. There were some illustrations to go with the text.
I asked - or probably told - the babysitter to make a book, too. Then I told her to sign it.
"Put your name on the byline," I told her.
"On the what?" she asked.
"The BYLINE," I said, impatiently. "Where it says 'By', you make a line and you put your name there."
You can't imagine my thrill a few years later when, an aspiring reporter, I found out that byline was a real word. I had invented something that already existed. Success!
How about you?