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.

on Mar. 14 2010 at 8:48 pm
tinkerbubbles PLATINUM, West Chester, Ohio
20 articles 10 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life isnt about finding yourself, its about creating yourself:)

Why talk when you can sing? Why walk when you can dance?

i think you're a good writer and if you were a music artist, this is what i would call your "demo" track, but its just kinda confusing and doesn't head in one particular direction. you've got a good style tho!

on Mar. 8 2010 at 5:27 pm
celloizmylife PLATINUM, Atlanta, Georgia
27 articles 0 photos 72 comments

Favorite Quote:
Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long.
We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious.....And curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
-Walt Disney

Rachell, this is beautiful. I can't relate (I find ways to mourn my dog in almost all fictional prompts I get at school), but your ideas were interesting. Some words were repeated a little too much, and I was confused by the last few sentences, but it was very creative and memorable. Job well done.

on Feb. 22 2010 at 9:37 pm
Shrimps1995 SILVER, Portland, Oregon
9 articles 0 photos 11 comments
I really like this. I can't really relate, because while I definitely love to write stories on my own more than the ones in school, I don't mind them all that much. I like to use imagery, and creativity. Yes, the prompt is given by a teacher, but I make it my own.

Rachell said...
on Feb. 21 2010 at 4:06 am
I agree with both of you - teachers have their work cut out for them. They have to take care of a lot of kids, in a really short time. And they are preparing us for exams, for the syllabus, not for life. And there is nothing wrong with that. We just have to remember that they are doing their job but that we are not defined by it.

Rachell said...
on Feb. 21 2010 at 4:04 am
Thank You! I love your name, btw :)

on Feb. 20 2010 at 7:31 pm
that's true. Yeah I totally agree. But I think that quite a few of them are completely oblivious to the extreme things that teenagers have to deal with

RahulD. SILVER said...
on Feb. 20 2010 at 6:27 pm
RahulD. SILVER, New Haven, Connecticut
6 articles 0 photos 4 comments
But by the same merit, I think we have to appreciate our teachers. They try their best to look for the writers in all of us, and be both our best friend and worst enemy. English teachers help us polish our writing. A raw gem can be beautiful in itself, but it's through work that it really shines. I'm not saying that all English teachers are infallible, I'm just saying that before we comment about how english teachers stifle writing and smother creativity, we have to think carefully about everything that they do for us, and how much they help us grow as both writers and people.

on Feb. 20 2010 at 3:53 pm
SaveTheUnicorns, Rensselaer, New York
0 articles 0 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
There is always a rainbow after the storm!

I can totally relate to this. It feels like I'm just not writing as much as I used to. This year, I have an English teacher who simply isn't very keen on my writing style. Keep writing. Your voice is earnest and true. Don't stop writing, don't stop thinking, and don't stop believing in yourself. :)

Dingledodie said...
on Feb. 20 2010 at 3:47 pm
Dingledodie, Sandpoint, Idaho
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
But he had been in love once, that he knew. Once and only once, and a long time ago. And it had changed him forever. Perfect love did that to a person, and this had been perfect.

Thank you for that.

on Feb. 20 2010 at 1:41 pm
I totally agree with what you're saying. teachers don't let us put ourselves into our work anymore...everything is so restricting. But I think that you are a beautiful writer!

twiwrite GOLD said...
on Feb. 18 2010 at 2:43 pm
twiwrite GOLD, Modesto, California
14 articles 0 photos 111 comments

Favorite Quote:
none :P

you have made a good point. english wrighting assingments are the death of writers.


Gabs(: SILVER said...
on Feb. 12 2010 at 10:50 pm
Gabs(: SILVER, Florence, Kentucky
7 articles 1 photo 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that's what makes you different. -Sara Dessen.

This inspired me so much. That even though we dont show people our writing and our writing may not be as good as others, it doesnt matter. As long as your writing for youself thats all that matters.

emilyj93 GOLD said...
on Feb. 11 2010 at 4:33 pm
emilyj93 GOLD, Naperville, Illinois
11 articles 0 photos 22 comments
This was really inspiring and beautiful. You have a great style and outlook on writing. I would love to know what you think about some of my stuff, I'm sure you get that a lot.

dule05 BRONZE said...
on Feb. 10 2010 at 6:08 pm
dule05 BRONZE, Kraljevo, Other
1 article 1 photo 102 comments

Favorite Quote:
"In the end, the only people who fail are those who do not try." ~David Viscott

keep writing Rachell :) I'd love to read your new work!

I enjoy your articles and this one is so popular because it's pure and from your heart!


on Feb. 10 2010 at 10:27 am
blankpages12 BRONZE, Redding, Colorado
4 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Sometimes you put up walls not to keep people out but to see who cares enough to break them down."

this totally makes sense.... just like notebook girl said... i remember i once wrote a poem for english. it had to be an i wrote it to rain. my teacher didn't get it. she couldn't look deeper. seeing how allshe expected from a bunch of teens was odes to cell hpone and clothes. so when i refered to rain as drops of hope. she failed me. but still to me thats what they are. deeper

on Feb. 6 2010 at 8:34 pm
VioletsandVoice, Spiritwood, North Dakota
0 articles 0 photos 170 comments
in a way i sort of understand what you are feeling. in class the teacher reads us a piece of poetry and even though I know exactly what it means I give her the same blank stares as everyone else. I simply feel no compulsion to say anything, even though I know the answer. I have nothing to prove. Your aricle made me understand that part of myself a little bit better, thank you

Rachell Li said...
on Feb. 6 2010 at 5:48 am
I know I really shouldn't be commenting on my own story, but I am blown away by the kindness of everyone here. You are all so sweet, understanding and amazing. I cannot begin to tell you how much you have all done for me with your kind, kind, too kind words. I know all of you are great people, and probably awesome writers too, and your constructive criticism is much welcome.

I'd also be very happy to read some of your work too, so please link me if you'd like that. I've always wondered what you guys wrote. Maybe some other viewers of this page can check it out too.

Because this is what it is all about, really. We are not the best writers, no. But who is to define what is best, and even what is writing. We may not even believe in ourselves, but belive me (because I have seen it here) other people belive in us. And that is enough sometimes. I have gotten so much from ALL of you guys, and I want to share it around.

Also, just a little note: I know that I stopped posting to this website, but today I realised something and have decided that I am going to write a small book or novella. I am just telling you because I really believe in it for once in my life and I think that telling you guys will help me stick to it.

Remember, you guys are amazing. Share your work and we will share the love.


on Feb. 5 2010 at 1:04 pm
boston418 SILVER, Weymouth, Massachusetts
5 articles 0 photos 48 comments

Favorite Quote:
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." -Jim Eliot

Wow. Usually, when an article is in "most discussed," it's because there's some sort of debate going on between commentators, but yours is here purely because so many people are telling you how much they love it, and I agree! I hope this isn't the last time you write! You definitely are gifted!!

Lady! said...
on Feb. 3 2010 at 10:09 am
Lady!, Fonda, New York
0 articles 0 photos 8 comments
I like it! Good work! If you get a chance check out a story called "STUDYHALL".

annexgrey said...
on Jan. 31 2010 at 5:49 am
Wow. This is amazing.

I have to say, you really did take me back to the real world and remind me to write for no one but myself.

You also wrote my views down exactly on school and how just becomes someone gets straight A's doesn't mean they're smart, etc.

You are a fantastic and inspirational writer. Keep it up.

The imagery in the last paragraph? Amazing.

May you have the best of luck.