Tuesday, November 29, 2011

“WHEN DID YOU START?”


I was asked when I started writing seriously. I have to confess it was long ago. I was six and had just learned how to form the letters. I wanted to be a poet, so I wrote:



THE FLOWER

The flower grows and grows

And so it goes.

Something like that, for it was in Hebrew, my native tongue. I think it’s improved a bit in translation.

My parents had a close friend who was a more or less famous poet. Well, at least he was published and we had his books. So when I heard he was coming for a visit, I sat with my notebook in front of the door, waiting for him, so I could show him my poetry.

The published poet gave my poems serious consideration. It exceeded the consideration I have gotten from most slush piles since. But the verdict was the same. In fact, he went one further. “I don’t think you should be a poet,” he said.

And this is my excuse for rarely writing poetry. But he didn’t say anything about writing stories, so I continued to write those for many years. I did this until I reached that strange age, the age where nothing you do seems good enough. Then I stopped.

But time didn’t stop, and finally I reached another age, where getting anything done seems miraculous. I started writing again, and this time I was thinking about sharing my writing with people I didn’t know personally.

Writing for publication is a much more disciplined sort for me. But in a way it connects all the way back to a six year old girl, sitting on a door step, waiting for her reader.



16 comments:

  1. Absolutely brilliant post. My favorite of the week. I must share this one on Twitter and FB.

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  2. Thank you, Karen. You just made my day.

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  3. What?! How could this poet say that to a little girl? For shame!

    I love that you still have your poem. And it sounds pretty good to me!

    I loved storytelling when I was little, and I'd make up all sorts of adventures. As for writing, not so much. Sometimes I'd start to write the stories down, but got easily bored. I wish I had had an adult push me to write more at a young age.

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  4. I always admire people who knew what they would be when they were little, and follow their dreams. I don't think adults realize how seriously kids take their words. I imagine many a dream has been squashed by some thoughtless remark.

    As for me, the dream began when I was 12 and I read Adventures in Two Worlds by A.J. Cronin. I wanted to be just like him -- country doctor turned writer. I always thought I'd be grandmother before I started writing (one has to live first, you know) but it was my children that led me to the page (about ten years ago). Funny how life works out.

    Vijaya

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  5. What a lovely post. And a good reminder of just how powerful words can be.

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  6. A darned good poem to my way of thinking. I'm still a girl too (in my head, of course) writing and waiting and hoping someone will walk down the street, stop and ask, "May I read your story?"

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  7. I love your poem, Mirka. It's both explicit and enigmatic. It's no longer than it should be.

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  8. Mirka, it was fun to read how you became a writer! And I'm amazed you still have that poem from your childhood! Very cute. In fact, my son wrote his own poem today in about 2 minutes! I was flabbergasted!

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  9. Touching story Mirka. You were a poet and still are!

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  10. I like that poem! I see a commentary on how simple things just continue, day after day, year after year. That's pretty profound at age 6. I remember wanting to write at a similar age, picking up a pen with a particularly pretty shade of blue ink, but not knowing what to put down. You did good!@

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  12. ^Removed for re-phrasing^
    Mighty Mackerel! My poem is getting favorable reviews… And now it’s published too.

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  13. I wrote tons of poetry as a kid and was actively encouraged by family friends and relatives. Looking at the utter slop I churned out, I often feel they'd have done me a good turn telling me to STOP. But I agree with others: your family's poet friend should have known better. I don't think there's any such thing as a poet who is letter perfect from the word go.

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  14. This is just beautiful. I'm glad that little girl found writing and that you found that little girl again.

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  15. I'm late coming to your post, but that doesn't change my delight in getting to read it. I like your poem. It's beautiful in its simplicity. And I'm glad you became a writer. You find wonderful things to say and wonderful ways to say them.

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  16. At the age of six you learned how to form the letters, great poem just keep on writing..

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