It's my dad's fault I've spent more money on ... than I've earned ... written in them. From the age I could hold a crayon -- and ... ... scribble on walls -- ... was i
It's my dad's fault I've spent more money on notebooks than I've earned from words written in them. From the age I could hold a crayon -- and comprehend I shouldn't scribble on walls -- stationery was in plentiful supply. During my formative years, a paper-mill firm employed my father.
He brought home reams of product -- quality control rejects. I eyed them with enthusiasm, itching to scrawl my hieroglyphics. As my mastery of the three R's improved, I was the only 7-year-old on the block with leather-bound notebooks (albeit defective). I admired my paper hoard, believing it meant only one thing: I was destined to be a writer. But when a new notepad appeared, I would start a new story regardless of whether I had finished the last -- I liked my tablets dog-ear free.
A quarter-century later, the paper-mill converted to a boutique mall and my dad fond of saying, "You live beyond your means," I still dreamed of being a famous writer. My vocabulary had grown age-appropriately (and my cursive). My self-discipline and output, however, remained that of a child. Perhaps less -- I was a prolific 7-year-old, after all.
Still, the dream stuck. A calfskin-bound journal with linen-finished pages shrieked, "Buy me," begging to be filled with my prose. I would reverently begin a piece, with the help of a carefully selected pen. But when coffee-cup rings stained the book and it lost its leather smell; my writing was as stale and uninteresting.
A new masterpiece began when the next journal beckoned. I would tell myself this was "it": the story that would be published (I could justify any expense for an inspiration fix).
It was last spring I had the "Aha" moment. It came in Wal-Mart. Shopping with my 7-year-old daughter -- a blossoming writer -- she insisted I buy her a brightly covered journal.
"Why do you want another one?" I asked. "You've got a ton you haven't written in."
"I know," she said, "but I need it to write a story."
"It doesn't matter what you write on," I said, sighing at the extravagance. "If you really want to be a writer, anything will do."
"Aha!" I thought, hearing my own pithy wisdom. I bought her the journal -- she'll learn her own lessons, her way -- and came home. Grabbing an ordinary legal pad, I wrote a piece with an ending, which finally made it to publication.
It didn't make me famous, but it was a start. I proudly cut out the clip -- and stuck it in my journal.
C.S. Paquin is a nationally published writer in both the business and humor markets. Cheryl has a Master Of Arts in Journalism and has been writing freelance for over five years. She contributes regularly to regional publications in Minnesota. She is the owner and editor of http://WritersLounge.com and the author of a new e-book: 101 Paying Markets for Essays, Columns & Creative Nonfiction, available at: http://writerslounge.com/101_markets.html