Donna C. Terrell

I Was Just Thinkin'

The Coolest Thing I Ever Wrote

on November 13, 2013

alphabetI have been writing since second grade. Back in school, my mouth would water when the teacher would announce any kind of creative writing assignment.  I loved to write stories. The very first story I wrote was about some people being trapped in a salt mine. It was the coolest thing I ever wrote! My father was so proud he took the story to work. I’m sure his co-workers gave him the evil eye.

In fifth grade, my best friend Linda and I created a group of characters. They were kids like us. From the ages of 10 until 17, I wrote about those kids. My first story was 3 notebook pages, front and back handwritten. The last story I wrote was 150 notebook pages, front and back handwritten. I have just about every one of these stories, neatly tucked away in a box in the back of a closet at my father’s house. The very early stories are cringe-inducing, but some of the latter ones are actually pretty cool. I especially like “The Mystery at Lake Karu,” about how Stevie and Della’s family went to the lake to spend the summer. They came across an old Indian relic that brought bad luck to whomever had it in their possession. It had a lot of cool subplots too. It was the coolest thing I ever wrote!

I would never throw away anything I wrote, no matter how major or minor. I have the aforementioned stories, as well as writing assignments, old college term papers and even letters of complaint to companies. I’ve complained about uncaring doctors to crappy service to salesmen who blew me off at a car dealership. Boy, did that get a response! I could have bought a car for $1.50. That was the coolest complaint letter I ever wrote.  And on the flip side, I’ve written letters of praise and commendation. In my college days I even kept a folder of “Letters Written to Men.” I figured you never know when some of that stuff could be “repurposed.”

I stopped writing stories after college.  I actually got lazy about writing while in college. I remember taking a story Itypewriter wrote in high school, retyping it and turning it in to my college instructor. In high school, I got an A on that story. I was somewhat insulted that I got a college B on that same story.

I began to hate writing description. So laborious. He swaggered into the smoked-filled room, his well-tailored purple Versace suit hugging every ripped muscle. Meanwhile, she was watching from afar, her perfectly polished nails fingering the half-empty champagne flute. It was a shame the index fingernail was chipped. The moon peered down from the skylight, casting an eerie glow against the cigarette smoke. Who cares!? I don’t want to write all that. Can we cut to the chase here?

(He enters.)

HE: I knew you’d be here.

SHE: You think you know it all, don’t you? You only know in part.

HE: Tell me the part I don’t know.

SHE: You’d just forget, as always. You are proving you cannot be trusted.

HE: I’m sorry. I want to make it up to you. And The Society. Would you like another drink? Um, did you know that nail is chipped…

SHE: That is what I mean! Always dwelling on the insignificant! Charlatan and the rest of The Society…

(Shots ring out. He dives under the table. She grabs her gun and runs to the window.)

That’s another thing I love about writing. You never know what’s going to happen and how you can use it. When I wrote that silly descriptive bit, I just threw in the chipped nail. I didn’t set out to use it in dialogue; it just found its way in. Writing is so cool!

I’ve written scripts, ad copy, news stories, and magazine articles. I wrote some poems. (They normally were inspired by a break-up.)

That woman

She used to hold you so tight.

She would look into your eyes and smile.

She said she could kiss you forever.

But you said no.

I thought that was the coolest poem I ever wrote. I submitted it to a leading women’s mag. They promptly rejected it. I sent a letter of complaint.

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Yes folks, you never know where your words will take you. Sometimes you just have to follow their lead. This started off as me writing about what I love about writing, which morphed into stuff I wrote that I really liked, which got me thinking about stuff I hadn’t thought of in years. And I must admit that out of all the things I’ve written, I haven’t profited. I’ve made very little money and gained no acclaim. I admit that I haven’t always been focused on my writing. Perhaps I’ve taken it for granted, like it will always be here. But I want to encourage you fellow writers, whether you’re very successful at a writing career where you get paid handsomely, bill thousands and people know your name, or just write really great stuff and the back of the closet loves your work, embrace your gift and don’t lose it. Writing is power. We get results. We move people emotionally. We create worlds. Writing is the closest thing to being in control that you can get. Yet, somehow you aren’t totally in control. Your words are.

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