Let’s Get This Party Started

Creative Avenues

Ah, the first blog post (dark clouds part, a bright light shines through, choirs of angels sing). Considering I am taking my first steps onto this new blogging path, what better way to start than talk about writing.

 

A majority of the writing I did as a child was formulated by early elementary school assignments – tell me about your summer vacation, write a story about a character that needs to solve a problem, compose an essay about the financial status of Saskatchewan (OK. Maybe that one was for a little later down the road). I can’t say that I spent much of my free time writing, but I did master the art of cursive handwriting while playing “school” and practiced long division problems for fun. What a nerd.

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When I entered fifth grade, I moved on to middle school. Sometime during this year, I was given a diary with a lock – the perfect gift for every confused, unsure, emotional-for-no-apparent-reason preteen girl. It was here that I wrote about things that were troubling me, hopes for the future, and more games of M.A.S.H. than I’m willing to admit to. Every time I go through my things to donate or toss away, I’d always debate getting rid of it. I’d pull out that doodled in, page-filled, sticker-clad diary and say to myself, “Why am I keeping this?” then open it up and read through it all again. My husband always encouraged me to keep it, seeing the memories flood back. And I’m glad I did. It’s funny how twenty-some-odd years later I can look back, laugh at what I thought were serious issues, feel heartache for troubles that were endured, and be proud of the person I have become.

Fast forward to freshman year honors English class. Our teacher Mrs. Blobner required a weekly number of written pages in a notebook on whatever topic we wanted. At the time I wasn’t sure if it was just something to keep us occupied or to keep her occupied (English teachers get plenty of writing assignments to decode, correct, and shake their heads at…why add one more thing?). Initially, I wrote about the things I observed around me, tried to make my handwriting a little larger so it took up more space on the page, and trudged through the required number of pages. Since I no longer wrote in my cute little teddy bear diary anymore, I figured why not make this writing assignment my new outlet. I began developing a fictional story about a young girl and the things she went through in her daily life – her parents’ divorce, unstable relationship with her father, social struggles with friends, and finding her place in the world. Whether or not you knew this Mrs. Blobner, that fictional girl was me. It was easy to write about the ups and downs in my own life and fill those pages when I could put it all on someone I had made up. The young girl was made up, but the events and emotions were real. I’m not sure what happened to that notebook but I know I don’t have it and that’s a bummer. To this day I regret not holding onto that notebook.

Having grown and taught writing to students, I think the point of her weekly notebook assignment was just what it was – to write. Just as practicing before your team’s first baseball game or mastering the classical piano piece before performing on stage, writing needs practice and the only way to do it is to write. So here I am, writing. Practicing this ancient craft, sharing stories with all of you, and hoping you find joy in them. Opening myself to a new world of possibility. Traveling down another avenue of adventure.

-Ashley

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