I have always been a creative person. Since I learned how to write, I have wanted to be a writer. I have only been published once (aside from my newspaper and yearbook writing years) and that was when I won the Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Halloween story contest in the fourth grade. [The story was about two sisters who dressed up as a witch and broom to go Trick-Or-Treating, but the witch got hurt and the broom had to go out alone, thereby being mistaken for a real broom by a witch, who then rode her all over the world. My friends in college had a field-day with that one.]
I have scores of stories and essays, plays and poems I have written since about age 8, ranging from a kitten cheating on his math test to the play I wrote after college about temps. When I decided that I no longer wanted to teach, it was because I wanted to write. But now I find my spring of creativity somewhat dried up. I can log-on here to rant and rave, and tell funny stories, until the proverbial cows come home, but everything creative turns on me. A few months ago, I started writing a story about the girl who allows the Communist Manifesto to guide her life, complete with manifesto-dipping. But less than a page in, I found myself ranting about the need for universal health care and free education for all.
When I was packing to move last week, I found a box of notebooks and folders that I had kept from college. In it were the materials from a creative writing class I took my last year of college. It was an amazing experience. My professor, David Wevill, was wonderful and so encouraging. He even defined my genre for me (a mix between high fiction and "fiction of the streets"). I found a folder full of work by my very gifted classmates, and the notebook I wrote all of my drafts in (mostly done in Physics class, as I believed vectors were a lost cause). And it sounds terribly conceited, but I was shocked at how talented I was then. I think I had just found a balance between angst and realism.
I told myself when I decided to go to social work school (because I couldn't afford to be sporadically employed) that social work would be my day job. That when I finished, I would do writing workshops and finally publish something. But now that I am doing it, I find it all-consuming. I can't shake the voice of practicality always humming in my ear, "What will this change? Nothing will come of it. Help those people. You need health insurance." This isn't intended to be my pity party, but simply me stating the facts of my reality. Maybe someday I'll win the lottery that I have never played, or I'll find the benefactor I've been hoping for, and practicality won't have so much to say.