Day 22: Why Do I Want So Badly to Be a Writer?

Writing chose me as a child.  I don’t remember even thinking about it, I just started writing and have never stopped.  I kept diaries and journals all of my life…some were truthful depictions of my life while some were entries depicting the imaginary life that I had going on in my mind.  I had a very rich and detailed imagination.  I would write letters to imaginary people.  (I never said I was normal, did I?)  I’ve been writing poetry and short stories for as long as I can remember.  I never really shared my writing as a child or teenager.  I asked for and received a Smith Corona electric typewriter for Christmas in 1975 (I still have it) and took a creative writing class from a wonderful teacher in high school who was the 1st person that ever praised my writing up to that point.  We had to write 1 relatively long short story for a major part of our grade midsemester and for some weird reason, I wrote a Russian tragedy with homosexual lovers and all kinds of symbolism.  Honestly, I don’t even have 1 single clue where that all came from.  Oh, and I lived in a smaller town in the buckle of the Bible Belt and this was in probably 1976 when I was 16 years old so I hadn’t been exposed to a lot of Russian tragedies with homosexual lovers at the time.  It was an elaborate story that I was especially proud of but, because of the subject matter, I could have never shared it with my parents because I would have ended up being counseled by our preacher in no time flat!  But Mrs. Shiflett told me it was a wonderful story and went over the story scene by scene pointing out all the things that I had done perfectly.  She also commented on the mature themes in the story and asked how I had come up with it.  I didn’t really have an answer to that question.  1 day, it was in my imagination and the next it was being written.   I got an A+ and she told me to never stop writing.  But to this day, aside from the 2 of us, no one has ever seen that story and now, I don’t even know what happened to it or remember exactly what it was all about.  But I was proud that day and that was the beginning of my dream to be a writer…a published author.  And that dream has never left me.  I, on the other hand, have left it behind several times but have always come back to it.  I found a creative writing class at the junior college in our town in my mid-twenties during my 1st (extremely abusive) marriage and writing became my release.  The instructor was great and once again I found an audience but this time it wasn’t just the instructor…it was the class as well.  I did very well in the class and was once again told to never stop writing.  Then life got in the way after my divorce…working a full-time and 2 part-time jobs and reveling in my freedom took up all of my time.  I still wrote bits and pieces of poetry but nothing longer than that.  Fast forward a bit to Sam, my fiance, who’d been my high school and college sweetheart, dying in a plane crash.  Grief and devastation would not let me write for some time.  We’d decided in college that we wanted different things so we split but stayed the closest of friends.  He was even in my wedding when I married the antithesis of Sam.  After the separation from he who shall remain nameless, Sam and I began to spend more time together and it eventually led to him proposing in February 1986.  We didn’t tell anyone because the divorce wasn’t final and we were enjoying our little secret.  We decided to tell our families who had always wanted us together on Sunday, March 30th, which was Easter.  My birthday had been the 28th and we weren’t able to spend time together but we planned to on the following evening after he finished his last flight ever for a group of skydivers whose founder did not maintain his planes well and 1 of them, in particular, scared Sam so he avoided flying it.  He only flew for them to build up his flight hours so he could eventually fly larger planes.  They had finished for the day when 1 small group wanted to go up 1 more time.  Sam had already tied down the other plane and hadn’t fueled it and told them that.  They told him to take the other plane but he told them no.  They eventually wore him down…1 more jump and he was done for the day.  They took off and about 150′ off of the ground, the plane went left while he was still climbing.  He had no control of the plane…they later found that a cable had snapped…and the plane slammed into the ground and caught on fire.  2 skydivers survived and 2 died along with Sam, whose official cause of death was the fire.  It was 10:00pm and I was wondering where was but assumed that they might have taken him out for a goodbye round of drinks.  I wasn’t worried.  Then my phone rang and it was my mom.  She was crying and screaming for me to turn on the TV news.  She kept asking me what his middle name was and I said, Charles.  And she broke down and told me that she thought he was dead.  About that time, the story came on.  I collapsed onto the floor in hysterics.  Then I heard my doorbell and I somehow answered the door.  It was my brother’s wife and she was crying as well but tried to calm me down.  There was no calming to be had.  I was devastated beyond anything that I could imagine.  I was an emotional wreck for a year…crying, barely functioning, not eating, etc….  Then, one day, I rediscovered my Smith Corona and started writing poetry…all of my anguish, loss, devastation bled out onto that paper.  It was the release that I needed.  It helped me limp slowly back to the world and people around me.  I continued to write while swearing that I’d never love anyone like that again.  A little over 5 years later after a lot of non-serious dating, I met my current husband.  He has always been my biggest writing cheerleader even though he has no clue about the process, the pressure, the doubt, etc….  When I told him earlier this year that I’d joined SARK’s Succulent Wild World, a group for creatives, all he said was that even though he didn’t know what a SARK was, if it made me happy, go for it.  So I had to explain to him who, not what, SARK was.  When I joined a wonderfully talented group of ladies in The Sunday Night Writing Group, he continued to cheer me on.  Same thing when I was invited to join SARK’s Rhapsody of Writing ( a writing incubator) and I did join it.  He doesn’t begrudge me the time commitment it all takes because it makes me happy.  I love that man!  I want to be a writer because I’ve always wanted to be a writer…long before I even dreamed of being published.  Even with the blood, sweat, and tears that come with it, I still love it.  That feeling you get when you write the perfect sentence or find the perfect rhyme can’t even be fully expressed.  And all of the other amazing feelings that writing can evoke in us that make us forget about things like sitting and staring at a sentence for hours because it just doesn’t sound right.  Writing is in my blood, heart, soul, and mind.  I have no choice.  In a way, I suppose it’s my destiny.  So, why do you want to be a writer?  Is it your destiny?     

“Control your own destiny or someone else will.” ~ Jack Welch                           

About Donna Heilman

I am a writer that lives in Irving, TX with my husband, 3 dogs, and 5 cats. I am currently working on my novel, Rapture, as well as writing poetry and some short non-fiction. I am honestly writing this blog to feel more connected with other creative people.
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One Response to Day 22: Why Do I Want So Badly to Be a Writer?

  1. Maggie says:

    Oh, Donna, my heart aches for what you went through. I am so happy you have someone to support you in your writing efforts — I am very lucky in that as well. I am so glad we are in this group together and I want so much to cheer you on in your efforts. Bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

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