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.

Gary said...
on Nov. 25 2008 at 10:23 pm

I enjoyed your writing. It is deeply thoughtful and has a touch of melancholy. At times it reminds a lot of myself, in my own youthful days, when words and paintings are my only escape to solace.

I particularly like your final paragraph. It gives me a feeling of coming in and out of a dream ....

Follow your heart and continue to write the way you know how, and try not to be constrained too much by structures and forms at this stage your development.

I hope to see more of your writings in the near future.

Em said...
on Nov. 22 2008 at 12:47 am
Life is jumpy. It bounces around from subject to subject with no obvious purpose a lot of the time. And she explained that Wilde wasn't really her favorite author, she just thought he'd be a good candidate for it since he got a four star review. (I think anyway, correct me if I'm wrong.) The conclusion paragraph is a little off topic, but hey, life's off topic. This was the most real thing that I've read in a long time. I think it was Ernest Hemingway who said something like, "Write the truest thing you can." And that's exactly was Rachell did. I thought it was brilliant.

James123 said...
on Nov. 21 2008 at 2:12 am
really great story. It certainly captured my feelings on writing. I also like the ending. It made no sense to your essay itself yet made perfect sense to your overall point. very insightfull. a perfect 10/ keep it up.

on Nov. 20 2008 at 12:35 pm
I thought your style of writing was very jumpy, moving from subject to subject erractially and with no real purpose. Although the segement describing your favourite author added a touch of colour, it was irrelevant to your main point and quite contradictory. You descibed how you were fearful of reading all of Wilde's work, yet you claim that he is your favourite. Furthermore, your concluding paragraph distracts from your thesis. Nice title.

ooh said...
on Nov. 18 2008 at 9:38 am
Wow....your article left me completely amazed....stunned!

Awesome work.

Bet you'll be a great author! :)

yulin tian said...
on Nov. 17 2008 at 12:51 am
I really enjoy reading this article

MK said...
on Nov. 11 2008 at 10:35 pm
I really enjoy reading this article

MK said...
on Nov. 11 2008 at 6:38 am
I really enjoy reading this article

Ya W. said...
on Nov. 11 2008 at 4:44 am
Rachell, well done. I think your writing is very unique. You are very brave to write what's in your mind and you are very sincere in sharing your thoughts. I am sure you will be a great writer.

just3words said...
on Nov. 11 2008 at 12:15 am
I feel exactly the same way! Live to write. Write to live! Never give yourself away, except for the paper. All authors live forever through ink! I hope you become an author!!!

awsomeaugust said...
on Nov. 10 2008 at 11:32 pm
I absolutley loved this. I feel like I know you now, when really all I have read is a little piece of your mind. Thanks for sharing your wonderful thougts!

bumble-bee said...
on Nov. 10 2008 at 4:26 pm
You are a very good writer. You will most definitely grow up to be a writer. There were some things that need some work, but other than that, this was amazing in my opinion. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

sidney said...
on Nov. 10 2008 at 3:00 am
That's great~~ I love your writing.

Silver Gray said...
on Nov. 8 2008 at 12:22 pm
Thank you so much for writing that. It was a great piece of work and I feel exactly the same way. It inspired me to write not for my grades but for myself.

cosican said...
on Nov. 8 2008 at 9:48 am
Rachell, you have potential to be a great writer as shown by your whizzy way with words. We do appreciate the dilemma faced by teens juggling between creativity and conformity, which you have aptly enumerated in your article. Do look on the brighter side. Good stories are to be shared so take comfort in having the grooming lab to nurture your craft. As a word of encouragement, I recently found out that my former student is now an accomplished author, a celebrated poet and teaches in USA.

Hazal said...
on Nov. 7 2008 at 6:30 am
A fantastic and indeepth article talking about true feelings of most of us had when we were at high school. I admire the author as she is so true and honest to herself!

kim said...
on Nov. 7 2008 at 5:39 am
It is good Rachel, at least you can express yourself, keep trying and it will get beter and better. The fist paragragh, you was nervous, but as you wrote down, ideas just come out, keep up the good work.

VRS said...
on Nov. 7 2008 at 4:35 am
I enjoyed reading the article and I think the autor is very brave in sharing her stories here. It is not easy to let others criticise your work. It is amazing how she can transport us into her world. I believe she has many more stories to tell. She should keep writing, finding motivation and improving with her own style.

Hong Yu said...
on Nov. 7 2008 at 12:25 am
I am a scientist and usually read academic papers. This is the first time for me to read an article written by a teen. It is so impressive for its naive yet deep-thought tone. We are looking forward to seeing Rachell grwoing up as a great writer the future.