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 Feb. 20 2009 at 10:37 pm
Hay_Wire PLATINUM, Independence, Missouri
42 articles 0 photos 219 comments
you amaze me. and somehow, i know what you mean. i only show people my most pointless peices of work, things that didnt matter when i first wrote them and never will. but thats what they understand, what they like. this, ilove. im going to copy it into my journal if you dont mind. wow. nice to have my feelings written for me.thanks

on Feb. 18 2009 at 1:39 pm
AineMachine BRONZE, Dublin, Other
2 articles 1 photo 5 comments
A great writer (Stephen King) once said that you should write your first draft with your door closed, and the second draft with the door open. Meaning the story is first for you and it holds a lot of you in it, then when your sending it out into the world you are rewriting it with your reader in mind. Well done for writing from the heart, that was brave.

xcblue44x GOLD said...
on Feb. 17 2009 at 1:10 am
xcblue44x GOLD, Collinsville, Illinois
17 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Jealousy is a tiger that tears not only its prey but also its own raging heart."

I'm going to comment this, although it's not like you need any more... Wow, this was amazing. You say you can't write, but I couldn't stop reading it. I'm not sure what drew me in. The words flowed together so well. See, I'm pretty lucky this year with my English teacher. She's kind of opposite of most others. She doesn't want to read big words that we don't understand but put down anyway. She just wants us to connect to the theme and write as if we were the subject, if you know what I mean. Just put your heart and soul into your writing and I hope you find the path. You're an excellent writer, never forget that.

naomi said...
on Feb. 13 2009 at 12:13 am
I think the ideas were good (though cliche), but the wording was awkward and clumsy at times. I think the last paragraph is the best part. The awkwardness and juxtaposition of the last sentence worked really well. Very poetic. I'd love it if people checked out my work and gave me constructive

SpecialK said...
on Feb. 11 2009 at 4:24 pm
I really enjoyed this piece. You make an important point that I think all English teachers need to hear. Structure is okay, but it sometimes stifles our creativity and causes us to hate writing. Please just let us write US instead of making us write YOU!

Rachell L said...
on Feb. 8 2009 at 12:44 am
oreo123, I hope you get this.

This is the first time I am commenting my own article because I know what you mean. I have been accused of plagiarism by my English teacher before. You just need to talk to them and they will either review your work again against your other work or put it through a web tester. My teacher didn't think that the style I wrote in suited the average teenagers, and I just explained to her that it was natural for me to reference lots of allegedly obscure sources as I enjoyed them very much. She took me out of class and just made sure that I knew what she suspected. She asked me what I thought and I just said that I have evidence of plans, MSN conversations that show me debating about wording and joking about references related to the text and so on. She then offered to go through some other work in the similar strain, finally deciding my article had been original.

I really think you should talk to your teacher; he/she has no right to make these comments without explaining them and then giving you a chance too. And you are right. Criticism is hard. But most people are so nice as to keep it constructive, I’m amazed by the lovely comments I get sometimes.

Thank you so much everyone. I know to call this article well written is so pretentious and that it is really just vague at best. But I’m trying to improve everyday.


oreo123 said...
on Feb. 5 2009 at 3:07 pm
i try hard to get A's on my english papers and i put my soul into my work! but my teacher never seems to like them. she thinks i get ideas from others and my work isnt orignal. it sucks to have people criticize your work

Mr. Studious said...
on Feb. 3 2009 at 5:16 pm
I appreciate your craftsmanship. To the person that, oops, who did not like this piece, I think Miss Rachell has done what she intended to do. Break rules... or don't... but, please continue to write. I teach 7th grade English, and sometimes, as a teacher, I have to prevent myself from taking away my students voices.

dule_91 said...
on Feb. 2 2009 at 8:01 pm
hey rachell, it's dushan :)

don't pay attention to the comment of "seriously?", it's easy to criticize the others, but definitely not easy to make an effort and write. I was wondering if you could check out one story of mine:

thanks :)

noisysignal said...
on Feb. 1 2009 at 6:51 am
I identify completely with the point of your piece; however, the execution is lacking - I didn't find it very compellingly-written at all.

seriously? said...
on Feb. 1 2009 at 5:16 am
ok, are you serious about this? i have no idea how this has been number 1 for such a long time--no offense--but it's one of the worst pieces i've read on this site. keep working on it, rachell, some of your other work is better

froggy13 said...
on Jan. 25 2009 at 9:00 pm
Wow, I really really liked this. When i went to read it I wasn't sure I'd read the whole thing, but I just couldn't stop. I agree with every single thing you said--I have done the exact same thing! I wrote stories when I was little and believed it would just be so easy to be an author. Alas, reality strikes! My favorite part of your entire article was the last paragraph. I really liked how it was so sarcastic, underlining everything you complained about (rightly so) and just smooshed it all into the end. Oh yeah. I'm approximately 5 ft 5 with blonde hair and enjoy writing.

on Jan. 18 2009 at 11:20 pm
Beautiful. I find it utterly amazing how true this piece of work really is. Up until now, I've gone through school getting straight A's on most every report card I have received, and my English teachers have always taken a particular interest in me due to my passion for the arts, writing specifically. However, recently I've discovered I am not doing so well in many of my classes in which writing assignments have been given during the past nine weeks. I don't consider myself to be a horrible writer, but I don't consider myself a particularly great writer either. My emotions often interfere with my schoolwork -- if I'm feeling something, I want to get it down on paper in whatever form possible, and immediately. I write for no one but myself. So when my instructor asks me to write about holidays anymore, I write a short story about demons and how there are no holidays for the damned. I try to be creative -- and perhaps a tad frightening, as I do prefer horror stories and the like -- and to be myself. It's so hard to be different from everyone else anymore. When your teacher tells you to write about seasons, such as summer and winter, how can you honestly be all too creative? So I write a short poem with a relatively simple rhyme scheme, and hope that will suffice. Sometimes it does; but, then, sometimes it doesn't. Not that any of that matters to me. I can't help it; I want to be my own person, and I refuse to write a paper that goes something like, "Winter is my favorite season because...," or anything like that. I can't stand that.

So here's my advice:

Don't let anyone tell you how something has to be, because nothing ever has to be necessarily one way. You may not get the best grades in Language Arts, but I'm sure there were many famous authors before you who didn't as well -- at least one, if not more. So do as you please. School is but one short chapter of your life. Who knows? Keep doing what you love to do, and maybe one day you'll make it. My Algebra teacher always tells me this story about Michael Jordan -- the truth is, M.J. wasn't always the best basketball player in the world. He tried out for his high school team every year and never made it. Look at him now. Everyone knows his name.

Meanwhile, Mozart was a prodigy. Amazing, isn't it?

Hang in there. If writing is what you love, you'll find a way. I have tremendous faith in you.

dule_91 said...
on Jan. 18 2009 at 1:10 pm
This was unusually nice, especially because you just put down everything you felt and that's what makes your story great!

- dushan

alvin026 said...
on Jan. 16 2009 at 3:09 am
ill keep it short and sweet. the ending made me smirk pretty bad. great piece of work.

brittyd11 said...
on Jan. 15 2009 at 2:21 pm

alice t. said...
on Jan. 14 2009 at 3:07 am
i loved it

i've been reading random pieces on this site today and this is my fav

it was so insightful and honestly, the type of thing i write, lol sorta my style too:) though u intimidated me with the sheer mastery

then i read some of the comments and i can't understand how some of them just didn't seem to get it

but seriously

thanks so much for this

i'll treasure this piece of you

on Jan. 13 2009 at 11:20 pm
I really love this article, because, though I have ssen a few people have left comments about how it's going around in circles and takes a while to get to the point, this article is true.

I, too, wrote long stories that were bad as a child. I've had teachers who told me I wasn't following structure. I had a librarian for a mother, though, so writing according to their structure wasn't so much of a problem. This year, I am lucky because I have a teacher who threw out the structure sheet on the first day of school and told us to just write, and we do.

Dorian Gray said...
on Jan. 13 2009 at 10:53 pm
You're right when you say that you're not too great a writer-- you definitely have lots of room to improve. I can see how this piece could be turned into something beautiful and genuine, despite the extremely cliche "theme". I'm sorry to say that you did not pull it off.

rcs<333 said...
on Jan. 12 2009 at 11:43 pm
wow--great job rachell--i can totally relate. i was wondering if you could read and comment on my article: dancing barefoot--here's a link: [ ]

thank you so much--this really was GREAT!!