Dear Writing Community,
Since this is my first blog post on Our Salon, I thought I’d begin with an introduction to tell you a bit about who I am and why I’m here. I’m a 42-year-old teacher of English and English as a Second (or foreign) Language, native Chicagoan, and mother of two young daughters. When I started out, I went to Columbia College in Chicago to become a writer. I took fiction classes, journalism classes, and writing for the theater. I graduated in ’99 believing that I would become a journalist, bringing the world to my fellow man, gracefully and honestly, one article at a time.
I moved to Denver after graduating and got my first paid job as a writer and soon learned that, to my utter disappointment, it wasn’t the right job for me. I hadn’t considered that, after meeting interesting people in the city and interviewing them, I would then have to spend long hours, by myself, actually writing. It was a terrible realization. But, after a year of giving it a shot, I knew I needed to find an occupation that better suited my personality. I would’ve been a raging alcoholic had I stayed (now I’m only an occasional lush). Despite my inner bully, who constantly reminded me that, “those who can’t do, teach,” (I really hate her) I came back to Chicago and went back to school to become a teacher of English. I’ve been teaching secondary education and adult ESL since 2009 and I absolutely love it.
However, the writer in me has kept yelling up from the depths of my psyche, softly but persistently, and after 12 years of changing paths to teaching and mothering, I have discovered that I’m ready to answer. That’s all well and good, but my writing hasn’t improved much over these years because of neglect. That’s why I’m here--I’ve realized that I can’t get better alone, looking at my drafts, hating all of it, and letting my writing rot in the bowels of my laptop.
I’ve joined this online community to attempt to find the honesty and energy in my writing again, to get into a consistent writing routine (which I’ve been told by successful writers since 1994 is the key, but I’ve successfully ignored save for short, month-long stints, maybe), and to allow my writing to improve and my voice develop through consistent practice. I’d like to discover what it is to write as myself, at least most of the time, instead of the mannequin I can sound like in some of the writing I’ve done (that’s when the fear took over and my own voice started hiding somewhere but my fingers kept typing).
I ask and welcome you to offer any negative or positive criticisms on my writing as I go (I can take it!). I will try my best to tell you about who I am, what I think about the world we live in, and to paint life as I see it. Some of it will be really shitty, but I hope some of it will also be done well, and maybe even speak to someone.
I’m excited to begin this journey again, looking through new eyes, and a bit nervous. What if it sucks? What if I don’t have anything to say? What if I can’t improve because I’m simply not a decent writer? There’s that inner bully again…I really hate her.