A fellow blogger recently asked others of us in a post if we’ve always wanted to be writers, growing up. Did I? Well, not consciously. My love to read came on quite early in life, particularly where fiction was concerned, and I’ve been writing stories since I was about seven or eight, but if people asked me back then what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would tell them, “I want to be a singer.”
I could hold a note or two, and I remember performing a few living room concerts for myself, by myself, around the ages of five and six, complete with a small, blue and white blanket on my head to serve as an imaginary flow of long, lustrous hair to toss about. I saw the bright lights shining down on my grand stage, I heard the audiences applauding me–oh, how they would applaud, whether or not my bursts of melody and prances around the living room floor truly sounded or looked like much of anything. I didn’t realize it then, but the singing itself wasn’t principally important to me. It was that imagined applause, the thought of recognition and appreciation coming my way, the images of glamor and fame, that made those pretend concerts fun.
See, I was a shy child without many real friends at church or school, and my home was the only place I really seemed to fit in. So, whenever classmates or other peers of mine would overhear me singing something to myself and would gush over me with surprise and delight upon finding I had a nice voice, I liked being noticed. I even felt cool. Those other kids would tell me if they could sing like me, they’d do it all the time, but did they ever pat me on the back and say, “Wow, Nadine, you sure read that book good! I wish I was as bookish as you are! What an imagination”?
No. They did not. 😀
However, from elementary school to high school, folks would ask me, “How come you didn’t tell us before that you can sing?” How come I didn’t? Because I hadn’t cared enough to mention it. Most days, I wasn’t even thinking about singing or music. I was thinking about books. I got the greatest kick out of going to the public library with my mom and my siblings. Silent Reading was my favorite part of class at school. Silent Reading was my favorite assignment to get for homework (as, naturally, I was going to read at home whether my teacher said to do it or not.) If I was in the middle of a good book, I’d take the book with me everywhere I could, using any available minute to get further on in the story, even if I could only manage to sneak in a page or a paragraph.
As a teenager, I joined the youth choir at my church (for pretty good reasons other than getting the chance to sing–a whole different story for another time), but my nice voice notwithstanding, when it came to what I truly loved the most, my nose could be found buried deep in books. So, books eventually won out over the wish to be a glamorous vocalist for the trivial reasons I once had as a child. Now I know I’m a writer through and through, as I’m meant to be, and so, I write. In childhood, writing was a good outlet for a girl who felt too shy to truly speak her mind around people, and in adulthood, knowing I have a gift for writing, it’s the best way for me to communicate messages I believe will be of benefit to the world.
So, would I have been cooler working in recording studios and sashaying and shimmying around on bright stages with a microphone than I am spending hours upon hours with novels and notepads and pens and laptops, reading and writing my life out? You tell me.
Or, maybe, don’t tell me. Just bear in mind that even when your trivial wishes fade to the background, your true passion remains right where it is, and you know you must do something with it.
Why I Write
Why do you do what you do?