Writing Proficiency

When I was a younger man I wrote quite a bit. In fact, I used to write every day. I never went anywhere without, at a minimum, a pocket notebook to write in. I wanted to be a poet. I’m afraid that the passing years changed that. Long hours, multiple jobs, and mandatory overtime all take their toll. You become your work and bits of you begin to fade. That was one of the reasons I decided to go to college. As ridiculous as it sounds, I actually decided to go to college because of a poem. John Hewitt’s A Local Poet contains the line, “The pension which crippled his courage will keep him in daily bread.” The poem would cross my mind every day at work and I began to think about who I was once was and who I became.

Writing again was at first very difficult. I would sit and stare at the paper for a time finding nothing. I would get up, make coffee, and walk around in circles trying to find the words. This could go on for hours. It still sometimes does. Learning to write again has been the great challenge of this course. When I was younger I received attention from teachers for the quality of my writing. Two English teachers placed me in touch with college professors when in my first years of high school. This now feels more of burden than an accomplishment. I am afraid I won’t be able to write well again. That is the fight I have every time I try to write now. However, this struggle is good. It is making me deal with a kind of anxiety I’ve never had to deal with before. With time, I believe writing will begin to feel natural again.

My favorite part of this course has been the freewriting exercises. Freewriting is morphine to the pain of writer’s block. Without this new skill I don’t believe I would have completed anything.

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