Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guest Post by Joann H. Buchanan

What Writing is to me
I started writing when I was in my teens. My dad, bless his heart, would ground me all the time, leaving me only able to read and write. The thing is, I would run out of books to read and so I would start writing. I soon discovered I could do what I wanted in the worlds I created. I could ride a dragon, turn into a bird or even meet my soul mate. Another thing I discovered was I could punish those who I felt were being mean to me.
As with any teenage girl, I had a lot of drama in my life. The world was coming to an end and life was so unfair because my best friend stole my boyfriend, my locker wouldn’t open and when it did my monthly stuff fell on the ground, my parents wouldn’t let me go to the biggest party of the year or last but not least, the single most important guy in school, Mike Mckinney  didn’t know I was alive.
Writing became an outlet for me. It became a way for me to travel across the world and a way for me to express myself. I loved every second of it.  Looking back, one thing I remember about high school was how new everything was. The world was huge and I had no idea where I fit in. I didn’t know the other kids were going through the same thing. I also didn’t consider myself an outsider. I was on the swim team, ASB and in the French club. (Yes I was the girl who was sure she was going to live in France and meet my soul mate across the world.) I was also in Drama and loved the stage. It was another place I could be anyone but me. The funny thing is all of that was me. That’s what most people don’t realize about writing. What we write comes from us. Everything exists somewhere within us. The lonely confused kid, the monster who creeps in the night, the angels that take flight and even the hero that saves the day are all inside us just waiting to explore the worlds we create.
As a writer, I was able to discover more about myself than any classroom was able to teach me. Through my writing I was able to stand out in the crowd and in it, I was able to say I have a place.
It took our house burning down for me to see that the universe was trying to tell me something.  This is something I will never forget and the single moment that changed my life and direction.  On an Easter Sunday a few years ago, My fiancĂ© and I took the children to our church for a fellowship potluck dinner. The children were able to run around the church and find hidden eggs full of candy and other tiny delights. Upon returning home, we were all exhausted. We put the children to bed and then headed to our own room. My eyes grew heavy and I passed out. Somewhere in the middle of the night, my daughter woke up screaming about how hot the house was. John opened the bedroom door and came face to face with a wall of black smoke.
“Grab Carolyne,” he yelled. “The house is on fire!”
I picked up my tiny daughter and wrapped a blanket around her then with some luck I found the door to the outside world.  I’ll never forget looking back at the house. Flames erupted from the roof towards the back. I yelled for John and the rest of the children. One by one they came out, coughing in shock but alive and unharmed. A few minutes later a loud explosion sounded from the side of the house. The fire had reached the room where the paint thinner and other  chemicals John needed for his business were stored.
We lost everything that night except what was most important , our family. The next day we returned to the house to see if there was anything we could salvage. Making our way through the debris, we ended up in our bedroom. Sitting on my desk, a few inches away from the computer that had melted and burned to nothing was a hard copy of one of my novels and a stack of disks. The entire stack was unharmed. There was no soot on them, no burn marks, none of the disks were melted or messed up in any way and the paper looked as white as the day I printed it out. A miracle had happened. In the middle of all the loss, I was sent a message. Be thankful for what you have . I picked up the stack of paper and disks, held them to my chest and began to cry. Amidst all the ruin, a small ray of light had been shined on me, personally.
After that happened, I stopped being the closet writer. I stopped letting fear control whether or not I sent out my work and I started taking writing serious. I began by joining groups about writing and learning from people who had already been there. I started reading books on writing to grow as a writer. I also started a blog. No when I started all this, I had no idea what to expect. I was as green and any other newbie out there. I still am in a lot of ways.
Writing had given me back my path in life. Once again I had a goal and life was starting to look up. Writing to me is just that, it is a creative endeavor that gives you a chance to share with the world.  For me, it helped make me the person I am today. I’m not afraid to set goals and not afraid to have others read what I write. It helps me grow. My life is now and will be forever changed because of it. 

This post has been written and provided by Joann H. Buchanan.

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