Touching With Words

2011.08.22
By

THE FIRST TIME I DISCOVERED that my words had an effect on other people was when something I wrote made other people cry.

The people were my fellow high-school English students, and the topic was a personal essay we’d been assigned. My take on it was to write about loneliness, and I wish I still had the essay because I can’t even remotely reconstruct it after 31 years and thousands of more words down the line.

But I was a very lonely adolescent, and I put all of my loneliness into this essay, and I got somewhat choked up while reading it, and so did my fellow students on hearing it, and I reached the end, and some of us were in tears, and it felt weird but also good, and my teacher (who had sort of been picking on me all year) began excoriating me for writing something off-topic to the assignment, and I lost my temper, and told her that she “should get a job with the city sewer services because you know as much about shit as you do about good writing” and walked out.

(Pardon my language, but this item also illustrates the story about why I have no high-school diploma, but as I say that’s another story, or rather another part of the same story.)

To a certain extent, loneliness still motivates my writing: I can never be satisfied with a piece unless someone else has read and understood it. Maybe all writers are like that; I don’t read a lot about process because most discussions of writing process always sound to me self-serving after a very little while, as if “to clearly communicate something” isn’t reason enough to write, or to live…

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Tags: , , , , ,

3 Responses to Touching With Words

  1. Kathryn Hildebrandt on 2011.08.24 at 1908

    Wow. Way to ruin a moment, Teach – not to mention, nice job boosting the confidence of the shy, nervous kids still waiting to read their own papers to the class. Good for you for flying over the cuckoo’s nest, and ripping her a new one. LOL! That was a brave thing to do in the 1970s, especially in the conservative ‘Nut Creek. And a high school diploma is overrated anyway.

    I must have gotten lucky in the area of LL English teachers, because I know Gordon Lindsay, Edmundo Melendez, John Cody, Holly Holmes, and probably Diane Inman, all would have treated you with more sensitivity than that, if not outright appreciation, then later gently counseled you privately about any “off-topic” issues. Our teachers possessed varying degrees of competence, none was perfect, but I never knew any were that mean! Was the first letter of the last name “J” by chance, or “C?”

    Anyway, this piece touched me, and I can relate. I never knew you were lonely! I was not as lonely then as I am now, for I was blessed with two equally eccentric, bright and accepting friends, Jill and Liz. I wish I had known, as we might have pulled you into our little clique. We all thought you were cool. Non-conformity and eccentricity were fine and admirable character traits in our world. There’s never a time machine around when you need one.

    • Neal Ross Attinson on 2011.08.24 at 2119

      No, there’s not, but the thought counts greatly. Thank you. And yup ā€” ā€œJā€ it was. The legends were true.

      • Kathryn on 2011.08.28 at 0329

        I thought as much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Tales

Prosatio Silban and the Starving Survivor

A BUOPOTH IS A STRANGE beast: some say it is half-composed of men’s dreams, others prefer not to speculate. But of the little that...

Read more »

Prosatio Silban and the Visitor From The Sands

PROSATIO SILBAN WAS NOT KNOWN for nothing as “The Cook For Any Price.” He had long ago foresworn the Sacreanthood and serving people’s souls...

Read more »

The Poet

HE COULDN’T TELL WHETHER HE loved beauty or women more until the day he called his mom and said “Guess what? I’m marrying a...

Read more »

Storyteller’s Knot

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF any story is the point at which it’s attached to the reader.

Read more »

Thumbs Up

THE PACK ON YOUR BACK is both reassuring and cumbersome for what seems the third hour of shadeless noon as you think, “This one...

Read more »

Recently

December 2014
S M T W T F S
« Jan    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Rewind

Wine Country Weather


Click for Forecast

Ritual Hat Pass

G'bless'ye, sir or madam.

You Can't Stop The Signal:
Celebrating the remaining days:hours:etc until Apophis II. Live it up, Earthlings.

Favicon Plugin created by Jake Ruston's Wordpress Plugins - Powered by Briefcases and r4 ds card.