The first time i've written for a long time | Teen Ink

The first time i've written for a long time

November 1, 2008
By Rachell Li SILVER, Sydney, Other
Rachell Li SILVER, Sydney, Other
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

As soon as you write something down, it is yours forever. And, if you wanted to, you could show someone else, so they could keep it too. But really, it is yours forever. If anyone ever wants to take it away from you, all you need to do is remember and to remind them that, it is yours forever.

When I was younger, around ten, when I still believed that there was a chance of doing what I wanted whenever I wanted for an entire lifetime, I wanted to be an author. It seemed liberating in a strange way, like somehow one person could tell another a wonderful story that was inspiring, humorous and sorrow stricken but not know. How could you affect someone that much and not know?

So, I wrote my own stories. They were short and they were terrible. I never showed them to anyone because I was not proud of them. I thought they were terrible. But, I loved writing them all the same. I didn’t know too many words and the ones that I did know were spelt incorrectly. I was and will always be a terrible speller. So I wrote my short fault ridden books and told no one. All I told them was that I wanted to be an author. The only story I ever wrote and shared was about a dog I did not know, did not care about and did not invent. His name was Fly and I thought he was good enough because I had seen him on TV. I didn’t even change his name.

Six years later and I share my stories. They are ones about boys with eating disorders, girls who follow strangers and kids that know more than their parents. Excuse me, but I have a mould to break. Sometimes my teacher says, ‘Rachell, this is really not what we are looking for, are you sure you understood the question?’ I shake my head but I actually did. So she smiles and is willing give me another chance. I take that chance but I hand in a piece of paper next time. There is nothing of me on it.

Oscar Wilde is my favourite writer and I have all his books, all his poems and all his plays. I haven’t read all of them and I think I really need to. But I still don’t, because I am scared I will not like him as much after. I have read ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ though. I made it out to be better than it actually was because I saw a review in the paper and it got four stars. However, there is one thing I remember about that story, and it is when the painter, Basil felt that he could not sell his painting, nor could he let it hang in a gallery, because he felt that he had simply put too much of himself in it.

It wasn’t self-consciousness. If that were the problem, he would not paint as well as he does. Painters are brave because they know that anyone can paint and yet they do it. This is how I see writers. Anyone can write. They impress no one, maybe except themselves. Yet they do it. As a ten year old, I did not feel the need to impress anyone, so I wrote for myself. I could not show anyone my stories because I knew that they were small pieces of me. The stories were about boys named Jack who played football and sheep who lost their mothers. My name is not Jack, I have never enjoyed playing or watching football and I am certainly not a sheep. Yet, they were me.

Rejection wasn’t an issue. I was too young to know that people are always polite and too old to think that I was always right. I was reluctant to share because I only had so much in me, I couldn’t afford to lose it to anyone, not even my mother or father, or anyone who would not understand.

Now I write for numbers. Hopefully numbers that will ensure an A. If the numbers are not as high as I would like them to be, which they often are, my spirit does not suffer, I am just disappointed. I do not feel sick because of the pointlessness of the exercise. I am sick because I am failing English.

Of course I do not want to fail so I write as many words as they ask me and I hand them in with no problems. In the very beginning I had some reservations, but now it comes easily, naturally, on a weekly basis. On the piece of paper is not something I wrote with my hands, it is constructed with a ticking machine, by a machine.

For school I wrote a story about how I felt and my teacher gave a worksheet on structure. She said that structure was important and that there needs to be certain sequences, descriptions and lots of showing-not-telling. I knew all of this because I listen in class so I will not fail English. But I was weary. I never thought life had anything to do with a set sequence, I never felt the need to tell someone about the sunsets and the dirt roads because I thought that surely they knew. Had they not opened their eyes on a new morning and had they never walked a trodden path? I had no intention of showing them anything because they would never understand, understand that I have something to say and they are going to ignore it. I had no faith in anyone else and I am tired and selfish.

In short, I was a terrible writer. But, I wrote for myself. The stories were real and the words were me. It amazed me whenever I looked down the page and I understood what they meant and I hoped so dearly that others would too. But, I learnt that they did not want to understand, they wanted requirements met and a showcase of several different sentence structures. They wanted flair and sophistication. I just wanted people to understand that I am tired, but I am true.

Someone I admire went through art school and said that he had lost all desire to create any art. When I write a story, I do it because I am instructed and because I am not all that bad after all if I just follow orders. This year, I wrote a story about a ‘making choices’ and I was sure to include a character description, vivid imagery and to use words that not even I understood. I got an A and the teacher was glad I was making an effort.

I write because I have to and no more. This scares me. My own words are no longer part of me. We do not talk. We never fight. And I feel we understand each other less and less. They are not mine; they are my English teacher’s.

But I am old enough to know that I do not want to abandon this because it would mean abandoning not just a little sliver, but a whole slice of myself. I cannot afford to lose so much after everything else because there will be nothing left and one day I will wake up and feel as if I am only doing things because I have to. I will never be uncomfortable, because no one will ever see me and I am just another girl who succeeds but without a mind and without any intention otherwise. I never wanted that.

Oh. By the way, today it rained and the soft, soothing drops of sky are once again beginning to fall. I know this because though my heavy velvet curtains are drawn, I can hear the familiar echoes of water sliding down the foggy windowpane in no particular hurry. I cannot see them, but I can imagine the trails that the leave, like the trails of the buzzing insects in the trees. If I stop long enough and breathe in slowly, I can sense the rich aroma of the worms doing their job and turning earth. I have always had a keen sense of hearing and smell. My hair is an unforgiving melancholy brown.

The author's comments:
I really do love my English teachers, i do. I just wish i understood that school and life are different. But don't worry, she has told me that now. She told everyone.

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This article has 360 comments.

JessieB SILVER said...
on May. 4 2010 at 2:47 pm
JessieB SILVER, Elkton, Maryland
7 articles 1 photo 102 comments

Favorite Quote:
an eye for an eye, and the whole world goes blind~Ghandi

I believe that EVERY true die hard writer/poet feels the exact same way(:

on May. 1 2010 at 12:44 pm
Isabella_B. GOLD, Cranston, Rhode Island
14 articles 0 photos 6 comments
You just described probably 75% of the people on this site as eloquently as humanly possible, and I loved it.

on Apr. 27 2010 at 9:30 pm
foreverever008 BRONZE, Portland, Oregon
1 article 0 photos 35 comments
Oh yeah, very, very good!

on Apr. 27 2010 at 9:30 pm
foreverever008 BRONZE, Portland, Oregon
1 article 0 photos 35 comments
This is a very interesting article.  I've always felt that my English teachers have always had a monopoly over what I've written, too.  I don't like writing for how many words the teacher requires, or what they want me to do, like use appositive phrases in my scentences.  My scentences are mine.  They sound right to me.  And I love imaginative writing.  I haven't really done this since fourth grade, and it really bums me when they tell me we're writing another narrative.  I don't like narratives, I like imaginative.  My life isn't interesting enough, so I make up someone else's. 

on Apr. 27 2010 at 3:36 pm
MeganAnne PLATINUM, Niskayuna, New York
24 articles 0 photos 157 comments

Favorite Quote:
All my life I've looked at words as if I were seeing them for the first time. ~Ernest Hemingway

just keep writing. don't worry if your work isn't amazing, because this piece was amazing, one of the best things I think a writer can ever create; a portrait of how writing feels, of how it is, without even having to pick up a paintbrush. (not that writers paint, but whatever.)

this was just amazing, please believe that and keep on growing and developing your style. Writing is just like any other thing in this world; you have to practice to be perfect. this is coming from a girl who filled up three rather large notebooks in three months and who trashed about 18 book ideas before finally finding the perfect one that changed my life.

writing is something amazing, just like this peice; so please, keep on going.

Dakota_Lynn said...
on Apr. 27 2010 at 11:29 am
Dakota_Lynn, Oxford, Georgia
0 articles 0 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
But that's not the point here.

An interesting piece. I know how you feel. Sometimes English teachers can be a pain.

on Apr. 27 2010 at 4:16 am
numbheart21 GOLD, Antipolo, Other
10 articles 8 photos 8 comments
i could really relate into it! I also do not approve of the English teachers, controlling whatever style of writing the student grew up to. I am also a victim of that. I wrote words i did not even know exist. It was like, I am NOT who I am..

on Apr. 24 2010 at 6:14 pm
thoughtfulsoul PLATINUM, El Cajon, California
25 articles 0 photos 48 comments
You wrote exactly how I often feel. I get irritated, because teachers want you to analyze the figurative language the author used and hand out assignments to mimic their style and often take away the meaning of the written works. This was amazing and I can tell you put a lot of you in it, which made it beautiful

on Apr. 20 2010 at 10:06 am
Miss_Bliss GOLD, Waban, Massachusetts
17 articles 0 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If we did all the things we were capable of, we would literally astound ourselves."

-Thomas Edison

It seems like everyone else has said what I would have said, but I'll say it anyway. I think we have all experienced what you have experienced, but I've never met anyone who's said it so clearly and with so much feeling. This same thing happened to me last year, when our English class was doing our poetry unit - my teacher tried to teach us how to structure our poetry, when all I wanted to do was write. I wrote a bunch of what I felt were really great poems, and I had to go change them because they weren't rhyming and they didn't have enough metaphors and there wasn't enough imagery. When I was done, my poems were, like your school papers, mere shells of their former selves, like a person after a Dementor has sucked their soul out (sorry, MAJOR Harry Potter fan here). If any of your other writing is as good as this is, then I think you could become a very successful author. Thank you for touching so many people.

on Apr. 20 2010 at 9:23 am
Good job, i like it. ;)

Meeow BRONZE said...
on Apr. 19 2010 at 9:44 am
Meeow BRONZE, Kuala Lumpur, Other
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
I think no matter what country we come from, which culture we were brought up in, this is the gem that relates us all.  We all get stuff forced down our throats and are told to stuff our feeling deep deep inside ourselves, and shape ourselves according to what the education system wants.  This is the most honest piece of writing I have ever read, and I know that I have changed too much to produce one of this quality.  Keep writing PLEASE!!!!

on Apr. 14 2010 at 10:17 pm
Wow. This is an unbelievably perfect topic for teenagers. Not only for writing, but for all aspects of school and learning. Well done

on Apr. 5 2010 at 9:09 pm
BrittDawn PLATINUM, Winnipeg, Other
23 articles 0 photos 45 comments

Favorite Quote:
And at that moment, I swear we were infinite.

I just love how you wrote this piece. You write what you want and the ending's just perfect- adding in what your English teacher said was required. It's a really unique piece of writing. Love it!

on Apr. 5 2010 at 8:05 pm
tallgirl1222 SILVER, South Pasadena, California
5 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Actions make character. If you never do anything, you never become anyone." An Education 2009

Wow, whatever your english teacher or others think, I think that was a totally amazing piece of writing.  I get the pressure of always wanting to write something that everyone will like.  Great Job!

amaranth178 said...
on Apr. 5 2010 at 8:35 am
amaranth178, Washington, District Of Columbia
0 articles 0 photos 118 comments
I can definitely identify with this as can many writers and artists, I'm sure. You did a great job of conveying these feelings--good job!

on Mar. 30 2010 at 5:32 pm
~Wolf-Woman~ PLATINUM, Carthage, Missouri
24 articles 10 photos 31 comments

163! Your article is quite popular...probaby due to the fact that your story realtes to us all on Teenink. I know how you feel completely. :) I just wanted to say well done and thanks for writing what some of us cant.


on Mar. 30 2010 at 12:17 pm
StarlitSunshine SILVER, Brooklyn, New York
6 articles 1 photo 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Friends are like stained glass windows, they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when darkness sets in, they shine only when there is a light from within"

I loved this <3 !

It was absolutely perfect and it totally captured the essence of what a young writer goes through :)

on Mar. 29 2010 at 1:28 am
Darkstar6265 GOLD, Centennial, Colorado
10 articles 0 photos 36 comments

Favorite Quote:
Everything you have will someday be gone. Even if you don’t miss it now, you probably will later. So take pictures and hide them in your memories so you can recall them later after everything that is becomes everything that was. OR I know you’re hurting, even if it’s just when you’re alone and thoughts seem to rush into your head and you can’t seem to keep them from coming in. But there can be beauty in pain; Even though sometimes it’s hard to see.

This was absolutely beautiful. Hit on pretty much everything that I've ever gone through as a writer. So hardcore props to you.  

Uncle Vanya said...
on Mar. 28 2010 at 3:45 pm

Hey there, internet stranger. I really enjoyed reading this. I think it highlights the problems associated with evaluating subjective works really well. I really identified with the paragraph where you said that you were reluctant to show your stories to anyone else, because you had put too much of yourself into them to let them be judged by those who won't understand.

Also, many institutions put the emphasis on insinuation, subtlety and writing in-between the lines. 'Showing, not telling' as you said. However, you were 'telling' throughout the whole piece, but in an honest and eloquent way, which I found very refreshing. Not many people can pull that off.

Anyway, good luck with your future endeavours! I can't wait to read more of your stuff.

on Mar. 17 2010 at 10:40 pm
deardiary BRONZE, Saskatoon, Other
3 articles 0 photos 65 comments

Favorite Quote:
It is a truth universally acknowedged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. -Pride and Prejudice

I feel your pain. Not everyone is going to love your writing but if you can simply believe in it yourself it will go far :)