I Am a Writer

Ah, to be a writer.  What does it take, and how do you know if you have it?  When do you cross over from being an aspiring writer, to a real writer?  When do you become comfortable calling yourself a writer?  Can you look someone in the eye and say with confidence, “I am a writer!”?

I am 42 years old, and I have been writing since I was a child.  I still have the first poem I wrote when I was 7.  It was about flowers.  I now have an entire six-foot shelf of 3-inch binders containing my writings for the past 35 years.  I have chronicled my life by writing poetry, prose, journal work and essays.  By the simple measure of time and space, I guess you could call me a writer.

I also belong to a book club, a writers’ group, and the National League of American Pen Women, all of which meet monthly.  In the book club we get together because we like to read good literature.  The writers’ group meets to share its writing, to network, and to support each other.  The Pen Women is a professional group of artists, musicians and writers, and I am proud to be included.  Judging by my mere associations, I guess you could say I am a writer.

It is, of course, every writer’s dream to be published.  We tend to measure our success by whether or not we have been published, and we spend a lot of time and energy working toward this fantasy.  I have my share of rejection letters, but my own personal dream of getting published finally came true, and I am happy to say that I have been paid and published several times.  So I suppose by most industry standards, getting paid and published would be the mark of a true writer.

But for me, what really defines a writer is the simple and basic need to write.  It is a primordial instinct.  I write because I was born this way.  I write because I have to.  Not for money or notoriety, and not for the accolades.  I write whether anybody reads it or not.  I carry a pen and paper with me at all times, and my only goal is to keep writing, and maybe perhaps improve.  Writing defines me, and I express myself best through the written word.  Writing is my past, my present, and my future.  Writing is also my friend.  Because I can’t imagine my life without writing, I guess I must be a writer.

Written by Susan
Copyright 1999, All Rights Reserved
Published in the Tahoe Daily Tribune
March 8, 2003

The Walking Wounded

If we could see the wounds we bear
that we have carried with us in this life,
we would see a trail of blood
and the red drips that hit the pavement
below us as we walk on.

We would see the holes in our hearts,
left there by the greedy takers
who abandoned us after they were done
taking the love we had to give.

We would see our faces awash in the tears
that we’ve shed year after year
from the loss, disappointment, heartache
and deceit we have been forced to bear.

We would see our hands,
left dried and callous
from the worried wringing
we have endured over the years.

We would see our feet,
the same feet that carried us
mile after mile
through this life of uncertainty,
because we trudged on dutifully.

We would see all the scars
left on our skin
from the accidents
and the not-so-accidents,
pieced together in a tapestry of pain.

We would see our backs,
broken down from years of abuse,
and from the time we’ve spent
carrying our own burdens.

We would see our tired minds
which have turned to mush;
tired from trying to make sense of it all.

We would see our eyes,
left hollowed and dazed
by the horrific sights
to which we have borne witness.

We would see our inner child
whose needs were never met,
but who continues to play,
naively and idealistically.

We would see our breasts,
no longer believing in the old adage,
‘hope springs eternal,’
for we have nearly given up.

If we could see the wounded,
we would see the sad souls
who have been left black and blue
by the beatings of this life,
but who continue to walk on
despite the hurt.

Written by Susan
Copyright 1999, All Rights Reserved