A writing life


I’ve been writing all my life.


At first I merely drooled my poems on my mother’s shoulder. She never understood. I wrote on cloth day after day in words so rude my mother washed them all away. I scrawled runes on walls with crayons about my fear of farmer’s wives with knives and cradles that fall down, but none could parse my text.




My early days in school, I learned to wield a yellow pencil, its lead held every word I knew. My large block letters stayed between the lines, like banners on the page. The sky is big. The sky is blue. The clouds are white. I like the sky. I was Hemingway in pigtails.


Those middle years in school, I self-published a thousand reports, wrote memoirs every fall for teachers who pined for summers past, and critiqued more than a hundred books for free.


In high school, poems fell from my pen at an alarming rate. None survived the fall. They carried too much angst, unrequited love, and dark thoughts to land upon the page unscathed. I found poems and stories in a typewriter many years ago, then lost them when I moved away.



All the writing that I’ve done since, I’ve hidden in a drawer or filed away. My words have been a secret I whisper only to myself. I share them now because I’ve grown brave or old or maybe both.


I’ve been writing all my life.

36 thoughts on “A writing life

  1. winsomebella

    Whether the cause is age or bravery, I am glad you write. And share. You have a true gift and it is meant to be shared 🙂

  2. I’m very happy you are sharing them now. And it appears so are many others. Somethings take time. I relate deeply to what you say here, to this delayed entry as I too have written all my life but only with my blog have I shared my words. Like you, my earlier works were perhaps lacking in composure, perhaps a bit bereft and wanting. If the patient is yet writhing in pain you don’t bring in the visitors, right? You wait until they are on the mend or at The End and then the doors swing open. And then everyone floods the room with hope and relief. I was always a little envious of writers whose words were ready to be witnessed at an earlier stage in their lives. Speaking only for myself, I am probably glad I didn’t share my words sooner. If I had shared them before I knew them intimately myself, before i had had a chance to love them in all their fullness and agony, I fear they may not ever have been tamed. My sense is I had to love them through the grief stages alone, I had to traverse those lost stages with them…I shielded them from exposure, from humiliation, I suppose. They were such frightened words, and I did not wish to paste upon their faces a false smile. I wanted them to have a shot a dignity, a shot at forming a beatiful expression all their own. That took time. Those words could not be rushed to peace. Not the real kind I so wanted for them.


  3. Bless you! And thanks for reminding me of my own earliest endeavors at text! You’re right: not all writing involves implements and letters….

  4. I wanted to reply to this piece the other day as it really struck me how grateful I am that you share your writing now.

    Honestly. I feel as though when you started this blog, you beckoned people over, a little shyly at first.

    Then we walked into the foyer of your blog, looked around, and realized simultaneously— Ohmaigosh! This woman lives in a cathedral!

    Your writing is that powerful. I am so, SO glad you share your gift with us.

    • kkkkatie

      Courtenay, I have been struggling to find an adequate metaphor to give my darling Little Sis and you have done it. Thank you! It IS like walking into a gloriously beautiful cathedral, full of stained glass windows and incredible arches and breath-taking spaces. No quadriphonic sound system, no 80″ state-of-the-art LCD screen…just a gentle invitation to sit a spell and contemplate and take delight or shed a few tears and be comforted. It is a holy place where you can laugh and cry and stand in awe. Thank you, thank you for seeing my beautiful Little Sis for who she is!

      • It really is my pleasure. (And you are such a wonderful sister!)

        Reading Yearstricken’s work reminds me to keep in mind the immense power of great writing by a talented writer.

        Great writing is transformative. I really believe that to be true. Yearstricken is proof of that truth.

        And I think you’re right— no adornment is necessary. It’s all in the essential architecture of the words and the ideas.

        Oh, talking about Yearstricken’s writing with you, her very own sister, just made my day ten times sweeter! This is fantastic!

        • kkkkatie

          Makes my day, too! I have long thought Little Sis brilliant and it is gratifying to FINALLY discover others who have the good taste to agree with me.

  5. I love the idea, the content and the words of this post. I love that you have grown up, into and as a writer, and that you share the joy with us here in Bloglandia. And I love the weird image you planted in my tiny brain of Hemingway wearing pigtails. Whole lotta lovin’ goin’ on.

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