Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Muses & Audiences

High school was when I started keeping a journal or even tried to write anything beyond an assignment. My first journals were pet projects, rarely getting attention. Most of my writing was horrible (I can admit that). Sappy poetry and letters I never intended to send filled the pages of the notebooks. I will come back to that thought in a moment.

My writing training is not much more than the average high school graduate. Besides being taught grammar and spelling, I wrote mostly reports for assigned topics. I didn't spend much time writing. I remember trying to write a short-story for an English class that involved a killer robot stalking its teenage creators and going on a murderous rampage. It was terrible. I hated it. My parents thought it was a lazy attempt to write and that a trick was used to capture the reader. My English teacher loved it and ate it up.

Right before high school started, I started a family newsletter with my parents. It had various columns and really started because I wanted to play with a computer program. The monthly newsletter (that last four years) had columns written by our family pets, movie reviews by my day, and submissions from other family members. I practiced interviewing people and writing like a journalist. When I was a sophomore, I joined the school newspaper (which was barely a newspaper at all, only publishing once a quarter and was never anticipated by the student body. Our school did not have a great journalism teacher.) These experiences helped me practice presenting facts to readers.

In my junior year, I took a creative writing class. We wrote descriptive essays, poetry, and short stories. This was a class I enjoyed, even though writing was still more of a chore than a passion. I wrote one essay in this class that impressed my teacher and my parents. It was about bowling. If I could find it, I'd post it. It had a lot to do with my bowling shoes.

This is basically my training in writing. I am in no way saying I am a good writer; I will honestly say that I use techniques that are terrible and end words with -ly too often. One good point is that my writing typically follows a linear path and I try to use proper grammar. All of this brings me back to my original thought and the idea present at the onset of this post.

I mentioned that I wrote bad poetry and letters I never wanted to send. Even though I wrote these things and feared anyone finding them, there was always an intended audience. Writing creatively was an escape, a release of emotions I never meant to share, but needed to get out.

Many of my letters were written to one person in particular. I have written, briefly, about him on this site before. Even years after our last contact, I still find myself writing to him when something is really affecting me. The letters are no longer filled with cheesy lines about what a teenager believes to be love, but they are descriptions of how something is making me feel. While I have changed, the image of him has not. I still write to that teenage boy, a rose-colored glasses memory. Somewhere, hidden in my apartment, is a notebook with entries after life-changing events, all addressed to him. I suppose he is a beginning point to me, the time of my life where I finally realized that I could think for myself and not for my parents and teachers. The memory of him has become one of my muses.

His birthday is approaching and it is one of the two times of year that remind me of him. The other is the beginning of summer, for reasons I have mentioned before but don't focus on anymore.

If I had to tell the world who my high school sweetheart was, I'd first conjour his image. We never officially dated, even if we were unseperable for years. We spoke of dating often and came close a few times, always chickening out because we were young and still cared what other people thought and afraid to share real emotions. I always felt we both waited until we were older and then we drifted apart. The teenage years are hard, full of change, and it was sometimes easier to believe it would be a better time off in the future than to add more to the mix of school, friends, work, and life. The times we shared our dreams and feelings were as important as they were intimate, even if those times are not essential to my life as it is now. I remember laughing around him and how his smile made my heart melt. The details are unimportant to this post and I will try to refocus back to the original topic, but the only important thing I want you to know in this drifting is that I felt I loved him and I never told him. At least I never told him outside of unsent letters.

Even if I have not spoken to him in over six years, I still find myself writing letters to him. Whenever something is bothering me or a big life change happens, my first thought is always to imagine telling him the news. I see myself talking to him and having him tell me (again) that it is all okay. He was always supportive in high school, encouraging and kind and sweet to me and I suppose I still want that part of him in my life. He is still that sweet, innocent teenager who called me an angel. He will always be the first to have made me feel romantic emotions and I will always hold a special place inside my heart for his memory.

He is one of my muses. He is part of the audience I write to here. I have others. I could probably go through old posts and tell you who I had in mind while writing them. Some of the audience is actual readers of this site, others are just those I've known and admired at one time or another. I wonder if how I would react if I found him reading this site. I don't think I'd want him to, not because I'm still afraid of what he'd think (which would not be that bad), but because I don't really want to change his image in my mind.