Michelle Wittle On Did I Choose Writing or Does it Choose Me?

Michelle Wittle On, Writing Tips

This blog may get a bit personal, so I am warning you…if you are prone to crying fits (like me) you may want to just get some tissues on stand-by.

 

Did I choose writing or did it choose me? Do any of us choose writing or is it buried in our DNA and there is no escape from it? My gut reaction would be to say it is a bit of both. But when I think deeper on this question, I really think writing chooses us. We can’t escape it and the more we deny it, it becomes the more agitated.

 

My dad always wanted to be a writer. He kept a scrapbook of all the rejection letters that he got through the mail. Because of his untimely (or timely depending on how you view fate) death when I was nine, his scrapbook was very small. I read some of his work and I don’t think I could judge it. He was my dad and I worshipped him; therefore, there could never be a way for me to honestly evaluate his work.

 

It was sad how much I wanted to be and be around my father. I used to carry his quilt with me in the house wherever I would go. I wouldn’t wash the thing because it still had his scent on it. Then my boyfriend’s little brother was apparently allergic to McDonald’s so after he ate a Happy Meal, he puked on the quilt and that ended my using of it.  I never saw purple puke before until that day and I have never seen it since.

 

So anyhow, I was in the seventh grade and my English teacher was a real local author. I thought that was brilliant even though he just wrote books on the town’s history (I was in seventh grade and I was easily impressed). He started noticing that I could write creatively and quickly. He was the one who put a name on what my writing was…creative. I don’t know if I had it all the time or because this man was, in my mind, a great writer I felt I could start being true to myself. Whatever the case was, it was in seventh grade I started becoming known as a writer.

 

As I continued through the awkward years, I continued to write. I was once in a creative writing class in high school. I was the only freshman in that class. Most of the other girls were writing about, what my friend and I referred to as, The Sweet Valley High spin-offs. I was writing about lost love and death. Write what you know I guess. My teacher took everything I wrote and wanted to put it in the end of the year magazine and one semester I got a 99 in the class (one of the Sweet Valley High writers actually protested my grade saying I should get a 100 and the teacher said I couldn’t be perfect…but then why did she give me all 100’s?).

 

So here is where the question remains…did I choose to become a writer to perhaps fulfill my father’s need to be in print? Did I worship him so much that I forced myself to believe I should be a writer? Or did writing choose me? Did I have this gift all along and it took another in the field to spot it? Or is it both? Did I pursue writing because of my dad and then just found it came easily to me?

 

I don’t have the answers. I just know that I can write about anything. People tend to enjoy my writings and some have even been comforted by it. Do I have the right to ask if this is a God (or whichever deity you look to) given gift or a self-made gift? Am I doing this for my dad or am I doing it for me?

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One thought on “Michelle Wittle On Did I Choose Writing or Does it Choose Me?

  1. “So here is where the question remains…did I choose to become a writer to perhaps fulfill my father’s need to be in print? Did I worship him so much that I forced myself to believe I should be a writer? Or did writing choose me? Did I have this gift all along and it took another in the field to spot it? Or is it both? Did I pursue writing because of my dad and then just found it came easily to me?”

    Ah you sound like me, only with a feminine twist to the age old question of “self, just why the hell am I doing this?”

    My conclusion, which was not easy, and I say that because it sounds pretentious, was that my choice was irrelevant. As a writer you cannot choose to ignore your inner flame. Write or not seems like a choice of free will, but that is an illusion. Writing to you is like water to the thirsty, morphine to the dying, a cyclical fuel for the flame. Your audience could be your father, it could be yourself, or it could be me. Write because you thirst, and if you do not then perhaps, like a lover that should not have been, your desire was only fleeting.

    But if you ache to tell your story, well, then give into your literary lusts, even if you are on Rejection Letter 192!

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