Let’s set our intention for the month of December on writing, creativity, and expression. What do you hope to get out of a month of writing each day? What is your favorite part about writing – the idea, the first words, the final sentiments?
In the third grade, we had a story book lesson and accompanying project. We learned not only about writing, but also illustration, where to put text on a page, and how to break up the story to fit and flow in a book. At the end of the lesson, each student was handed a small, hardcover book. Completely white. With maybe twenty or so crisp, bleached pages. Of course, having an older sister, I already knew this project was coming and had essentially spent every day of third grade up until that point waiting desperately for this day to come.
When I was in middle school, teachers would assign page minimums for our papers, so everyone at least wrote something for 2 pages, or whatever that minimum was. I was not assigned page minimums. I was always pulled aside briefly, inconspicuously during work time or after the bell rang and asked, “Katie, please don’t write more than 10 pages for this assignment.” Without question or fail, I would go home and write exactly 10 pages on the topic.
In a high school creative writing lesson, I eschewed the assignment so completely the the remark I received on the paper after grading read, “You really haven’t actually completed the assignment that was asked of you; please look back at the assignment sheet for guidance. However, your writing is remarkable.” I received an A.
I have been writing volumes since I was a tiny human. I thought I always loved the act of writing, but what I actually love is the act of storytelling. I love language and syntax. I love how word choice and organization (and in the case of spoken word, the delivery) can evoke emotion and relationship between the storyteller and the audience. I have always been this way and defining myself as a storyteller feels as natural and fitting as defining myself as left-handed or blue-eyed. This is a place where I know myself best.
My intention for this month is to approach this project like a small, blank hardcover book with 31 crisp, bleached pages laid out for the story of 2016. And to be as enthusiastic to write as I was when I was eight and as unafraid to break the rules– remarkably– when I was eighteen.