On Writing

It was the first creative thing that I felt I was genuinely good at. I started when I was about six years old.

It began in the battered and well worn notebook of one of my classmates. I recall the notebook had had a red cover and a spiral spine.

My classmate, also quite the bookworm, had written a short story. In his careful printing, likely having used a stubby number 2 pencil, he had authored a small tale of a boy and his dog.

I was so enamored with the idea of creating my own little story that I spent most of class speeding through my assignments so that I could work on it. I even opted to work on it during free time instead of immersing myself in the Arts and Crafts box (which was oddly located under a table next to the bathrooms) like I usually did.

My classmate enjoyed my story and the two of us spent the remainder of the school year trading notebooks and adding onto one another’s stories.

When I was in 6th grade my teacher had a writing contest in which she would choose one essay written on the topic of diversity to submit to a community newsletter. To this day I am still annoyed that she picked the essay written by Ben Anderson over mine.

I enjoyed writing and often received positive feedback from it. My whole 7th grade Language Arts class would listen and laugh as our teacher read my short stories out loud to them.

In 10th grade I wrote a powerful essay on a murdered South African civil activist that received an A++ from my teacher and a note in the margins. I recall it was the word ‘Wow!’ circled several times in red ink.

In 9th grade my French teacher found my assignment so cleverly written that she read it out loud to the class, much to my embarrassment.

In 11th grade my English teacher found the poem I’d written to be so intensely vulnerable that he refused to read it out loud during the “guess who wrote this poem” game.

I recall one of those poems was about how emotional it had been to have hit a deer. The class quickly and correctly guessed it as having been penned by the girl who really wanted a lower back tattoo but whose mom wouldn’t let her get one.

The assignment had been to write a poem about a difficult time in your life. Not knowing about the game my poem had been about getting my first black eye.

Writing has allowed me a way to express things that I have trouble saying out loud. Through my writing I can tell you things in a way that I never could verbally. My written words are purposeful and intentional. I can take my time with them. I can craft with them.

I love to write and I have deeply missed it. Words are such treasured little characters.

S.Ziegenfuss

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