There was a day in 10th grade English class when we were given an in-class writing exercise. Our teacher presented a candy bar to the class and told us that we had ten minutes to write a descriptive piece about it. The student who wrote the best description would take home this sweet treat. “Aha!” I thought, food had always been one of my favorite past times, “I’m all over this!”
I can remember furiously scribbling on my paper, addressing the appearance, scent, how it would feel and taste in my mouth, the melted bits of chocolate that would be left on my fingers and how I would subsequently lick them clean. I wanted that candy bar so badly I could easily imagine all of these sensations.
At first, as I dug into the piece, I was driven by the urge to win, but after a few lines, something else took over, the rest of the room became a sort of black hole. I was in my own space and time, creating. As the teacher read my piece aloud to the class I was overcome. The changing inflections in her voice as every detail of the candy bar was lovingly, verbally caressed. From the sound of the first little tear into the wrapper and how it crackled as it was peeled away, to the salty crunch of the peanuts contrasting with the sweet milky nougat, I could practically feel that Snickers becoming one with my tongue. It was such a surprising moment for me. I had been so swept up by the process of writing that when I heard the words I almost didn’t recognize them as my own.
I didn’t win the intended prize that day. I don’t even remember who did. Unbelievably there was only a tinge of disappointment because I knew I had come away from that experience with something even greater; a realization for what one’s words can do to transport the reader. But more than that, over the years, I have remembered this activity because of the impact it had on my life, how it opened my eyes to my own enjoyment in the art of writing. How I had felt transported to another place during that act of creation.
I have always been a writer. Even before and since that day. I write as a way to encapsulate my thoughts, and to attempt to understand them and the world around me. Once in a while I have shyly shared, but I resisted for so long writing a blog, thinking:
What if I’m no good?
What if nobody wants to read it?
What if no one likes it?
What if? What if? What if…?
Now I realize that those were just excuses for what holds so many of us back. Fear. For me this blog is a way to capture that moment again and again. That moment where I knew no fear, only joy in expression. I was not afraid that day in Ms. C’s English class to put myself out there and let others hear my words. That was my prize that day.