An Account Explaining My Recent Creative Writing Major Choice

Abbie Berman

This chapter in Slouching Toward Bethlehem reminds me much of George Orwell’s Why I Write, a piece of rhetoric that I was personally impacted by. Orwell writes at the beginning of his piece:

“From a very early age, perhaps the age of 5 or 6, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. Between the ages of 17-24 I tried to abandon this idea, but did so with the consciousness that I was outraging my true nature and that sooner or later I should have to settle down and write books.”

This quote speaks for me. From back in time as long as i can remember i have possessed a mind like his, full of stories and imaginings, but with [what i thought at the time] no outlet. I’d imagine beautiful stories about being a princess adorned in jewels and glitter, or becoming a new girl mouse character in Tom and Jerry. These impulses felt silly to me at the time.

Later, i figured out that i have been harboring from the start an anxious brain, a self-conscious brain, an [actually medically diagnosed and medically confirmed fact] OCD brain, a worried brain. This wacky brain of mine has enabled me to develop the written skills that I’ve acquired.

Over the years, I have learned to untangle the web of obsessive thoughts, worries, and wonders lingering in my brain and put them to good use with a glitter pen and a  pad of paper. That’s it. Those are the two things i needed to send myself snowballing downhill into the magical world of written art.

As i write this, i am sitting at an outdoor table on my University’s campus, flooded with light which bounces off my notebook, my baby blue glitter pen’s ink glistening in the sun. i purchased two sets of 20 gel glitter pens from Target before the beginning of the semester in an attempt to motivate myself to complete my assignments in school, which i had only been marginally focused on starting junior year of high school, when i was distracted by the abuse of a terrible ex-boyfriend.

My OCD/anxiety-induced good grades which i’d spent my life maintaing were slipping, for i no longer felt the freedoms of mind, heart, and soul to push through hard times. Those emotions were pushed, yelled, threatened out of my being the quiet stress-ball homework perfectionist who I’ve always been at heart. Occasionally, i put on an aggressive, leave me alone-type front; i’d like to note that while yes, I’m shy, i am also a decent human being with a lot of captivating ideas swimming around in my mind.

I, like Orwell, have had an inclination that i am a decent writer/artist since my early days: pre-school extracurriculars my mom had enrolled me in. [A memory from when i was little, elementary school age]:

Me, rocking my interesting personality on Easter.

 As a young girl, i was always the girl with her nose in a book. I enjoy literature, and have certainly found the magic a good novel can create to be the utmost for.

I’ve always had the gut instinct that “elephant” deserves the pronoun “an” to be placed before it, because it sounded better than “a elephant”.

I read Gone With the Wind at 13, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I’m slightly socially awkward, as it seems many writers tend to be. We are interesting creatures, loving nothing more than to be alone entertaining our own vibrant imaginations.

  1. I’ve always been a nerd; in high school, i used to do my ex-boyfriend’s English homework, a class in which he performed excellently [*you’re welcome.*]

I constantly think of new phrases/sayings [that crack my best friends up] that i could post on social media or write down, so instead of ignoring these thoughts, as i have done for years (i barely have any social media; I’ve only a Facebook and Snapchat. I believe in Snapchat, i am interested in investing [a small sum] in Snap Inc. (NYSE:SNAP). I’ve recently commenced to write these dreams and aspirations down, hence this blog. Once I do, i’m transported to what Jasmine would call a ‘whole new world.’

So, I’m a grammar queen, something my mom would say. I, like Joan Didion in On Keeping a Notebook, believe in the immense power of the written word:

It is a good idea, then, to keep in touch with the ideas reverberating through her head, and i suppose that keeping in touch is what notebooks are all about. And we are all on our own when it comes to keeping those lines open to ourselves: your notebook will never help me, nor mine you.”

Telling stories has become my new purpose in life. It feels good to finally feel that the path I’ve been wandering down for the past few years is finally transforming me into the writer I’ve always been meant to be.

Note: At this point in time as i write this piece, i have switched from my baby blue glitter pen which just ran out to a deep lilac purple one.

Now that the attention span of my wacky brain is renewed, im ready to keep pumping out content which represents my character as a (hopefully successful) writer.

One more note: I’m confident my fate is truly sealed; the other afternoon, my mom found a letter from my grandma, who’s mother, my great-grandmother, was also a writer/artist.

My grandmother had written me to congratulate me on a piece of poetry i recently recalled having written likely when i was middle-school-aged. We had recently adopted a new dog named Bubba, who was the handsomest and sweetest dog in the entire shelter, the Boxer Rescue in Los Angeles. He was wonderful on leash, so i was so excited to walk him up and down the end of Tustin Ranch Road where we used to live.

Bubba, 2017.

I finally got to live out that dream of mine to walk him a few days after we adopted Bubba and brought him home. I put his fire engine red collar on, which had a shiny and silver, bone-shaped dog tag dangling from its loops. We commenced our trek to the park. The situation instantly turned bad: Bubba saw an individual and their dog walking down the road on the sidewalk on the other side of the street as we walked up the road. Each step closer to the woman Bubba and i made became more and more anxiety-inducing: He had begun to use all of the force in his pure white, velvety soft and lightly speckled American Bulldog/Dogo Argentino body to lurch ahead toward the said two. He is 100 pounds, so i could certainly not have held him back on my own, so i reached into my pocket and pulled out my Envy 2 flip phone and called my mom. She came to the rescue with the car and we safely made it back home on what would be one of the last walks he would ever go on [with me].

His behavior worsened, we feared for other neighbors’ safety, we questioned if we’d be able to transform his scared, aggressive character into one of a sweet house dog who we had initially thought we had adopted. We hired dog ‘psychologists’ and trainers to come to our home and help train him. Nothing worked. We proposed euthanasia, but were having trouble coming to terms with it.

This is the point in the story where i step in to save the day:

I was fearful that Bubba, my sweetie pie, would need to be put down. I went upstairs to the printer and took out a few sheets of white, unlined printer paper and proceeded to write and draw my way into the hearts of my mom and my grandma. Looking back, i am shocked at the power my words carried in that moment: it was the first time i experienced my first writer’s epiphany- my words could make a difference.

In the letter from my grandmother, she wrote:

Mom said he will have another chance~ you must take after gram in ma- she also wrote poetry, as did her mother, my grandmother.

The letter my grandmother sent me in middle school.

What i have been born with is a gift, as pure and simple as they come. I, at 19 years old, am choosing to stake my claim in the writer’s universe, to read and learn new information which inspires me, to try to impact and inspire other readers.

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