a writer comes of age

…it means you are a slave to the words bursting forth from your mind…

7 years old / what do you want to be when you grow up, he asked me. a writer, i answered.

8 years old / i sit for hours my legs cross eagle and numb, pencil in hand diligently scribbling on waffle house napkins searching for the correct adjective to describe the experience of watching the sunrise from the hatchback of my aunts chevette as we cross the bridge connecting cincinnati to kentucky louisiana bound.

10 years old / my teacher assigns an essay where will you be in the year 2000. i am angry with him so i create a life where he is dead and i am a happy writer with pulitzer prize in hand, a family added because my friends thought it odd i don’t have kids in my thirty year old life.

11 years old / we are retreating. my mother gives me a packing list, forgetting my toothbrush i bring extra pencils and two journals. i sit in tranquil solitude as the others row away. the quiet a magnificient backdrop to a scene for my first play.

12 years old / i hate this place with a passionate resolve. daily i plot my escape. a school newspaper. layout staff. layout editor. i am certain of two things – i am heterosexual and i am madly in love with mrs. griffin.

14 years old / at some point you have to come into the real world, she says. little sister i know your secret, she writes, behind the warrior exterior lines the tender heart of a writer. muse on, she urges. i decide the real world is for punks.

16 years old / although the poem is clearly the superior work the presidents granddaughter takes the grand prize. honorable mention in hand i muse out loud on the bullshit at work. poetry is not politics i am told. bullshit i maintain.

17 years old / it is a pilot program, you probably won’t even get a chance to do anything important she warned handing me the referral. standing in the bullpen for the first time i orgasm. this. is. heaven.

18 years old / i will cut a bitch. she stole my byline. you’d be tried as an adult. shit. lit is the major then. lost in beowolf and dante i fall completely unashamedly in love with language. thank you god for toni morrison. song of solomon keeps me out of the clink.

19 years old / the writer is set free in italia!

20 years old / 1500 dollars to read poetry for six weeks and hypothesize on its cultural implications. i buy a car and marvel at the wonder of mercy.

21 years old / they are putting me out telling me there are no more classes to take. they have given enough. i panic. i become a social worker.

25 years old / i am suffocating. i cannot breath. my crap goes in storage. leaving job and lover behind i return to the solitude of my mind. reality after all is for punks.

26 years old / self published chapbooks litter the metropolitan area. professional poet warrior woman, my new nomenclature. i meet him one day after a reading.

27 years old / i marry.

36 years old / i am reincarnate mother.

39 years old / i divorce.

41 years old / i am a writer.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Karin Wiberg says:

    This is fantastic! I especially like age 10: “he is dead and i am a happy writer with pulitzer prize in hand.” 🙂

    1. 98dayjourney says:

      my father wasn’t too happy with that composition. its a funny memory now but writing this it made me think alot about our exchanges through the years. thanks for reading, Karin.

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