I recently opened an old cardboard box filled with books and papers I had been carrying around with me for a long time. In it were some things I wrote during my college days. We’re talking 1969.
Am I going to share some of these? Not a chance! I’m taking a risk by even keeping them around. I should burn them. I’ll never reveal the pseudonym I took for myself.
Those were the days I was filled with stuff and vinegar, globally angry and entitled. I saw my peers and most of my teachers as small of mind. I put myself alongside the masters. My writing included a start of an epic poem, written in the rhyme scheme of a Spenserian sonnet. The theme of the epic was there is no God, but for survival, one must act if there is, or something like that.
There were two that brought a smile to my face. One was a Shakespearean sonnet for which I won the Lenoir Rhyne College student literary magazine’s poetry contest. The other was an article comparing Huck Finn with Abbie Hoffman. I won twenty-five dollars in a Charlotte Writer’s Club contest for that one.
Reviewing all this leaves me with the feeling that writing something and sailing it out into the world is quite an audacious act. You’re asking someone to not only pay real money for your story or your opinion, but then take something like six hours or more out of their lives to read it.
I guess what we authors have on our side is the enduring faith of the reader that they will find in our work something that at least entertains or informs, and maybe inspires. Quite an assumption, but as a reader, it happens to me all the time.
I read. I write. I learn. I’m in a writing group and I have four published books. I’m still pretty sure I’m not Steinbeck, but my heart and soul have found their way back to where they should be.