There is a part of me that only ever wants to write. I used to write lots as a kid. Mostly journals. Some letters. There was always a commentary for my drawings. Then at twelve I wrote my first play with my friend, Bekah Baldwin nee Billheimer. All my closest friends made up the characters. I called it Orange Peanuts and Green Plums, or OPGP for short.
I have to say that for a pair of twelve and fourteen-year-olds, it’s a very clever play. The writing is atrocious, but the plot–now there is a gem. That play defines part of my childhood. Grandfather Nicholas, Molly, Frederick von Drake, Madison Wisconsin, Adrian Butler, and Professor Moriarty (not the Sherlock Holmes one–some of my names were by no means original!) are names very dear to my heart. I took out the old, hard copy of the manuscript and read over it while on Christmas break. And I resolved to revive that old script.
Sometimes the best things you write are the old things, because you were not concerned at all during your younger years over whether or not your writing was any good. You just wrote. My Honors professor, Dr. Hellenbrand, says the spontaneous things of life are always the most honest. OPGP was written spontaneously. Very much so. Its revival will, I hope, pour more flesh into its current skeletal state. I may even try to publish it.
One thing I have found, with the very short career of writing I have had thus far, is that writing from experience is far better than trying to make up a whole assembly of characters and scenarios you have never witnessed. The books that have moved me the most have been the ones that portray best the human condition with all its triumphs, sorrows, joys, and pains. Little Women and An Old-Fashioned Girl come to mind. Villette and Jane Eyre are others. I think it’s impossible to not add a portion of yourself into anything you create, whether it is music, writing, drawing, architecture, or what have you
Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works. [Virginia Woolf]
My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living. [Anais Nin]
I have another story that I have been meaning to write for a long while now. The basic plot has been laid out. The main character has been created and crafted to resemble many persons. The entirety of this book has been set up awaiting my fingers to get to the keys and actually write it. I wasn’t ready when the idea first came to me. I didn’t know what I was waiting for. I didn’t know how long it would take for me to get to a point where I felt I could start it.
The time has come. I think going away from home was the experience I needed to write this book. I’ve had its title for three years or more now. It’s called The Lifetime Marvel, or Marvellous Lifetime, of Mr. Kirkpatrick James Stowe.
So welcome to my summer plans! I’ve resolved to spend at least ten minutes every day writing something. I used to be concerned with trying to write a masterpiece or something utterly incredible. I really don’t care about that anymore. I just want to write. Because I like to.