Monday, July 7, 2014

Down The Hobbit Hole: Feels Like the Very First Time

Down the Hobbit Hole is a monthly segment penned by Maura, a senior at Michigan State University, finishing her undergraduate degree in English. She's also a lover of cats, great literature and Bruce Springsteen. Life's an adventure and remember: "Not all those who wander are lost."

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A lot of time these past couple months has been spent soul-searching. I constantly get the question of what I’m going to do with my life now that I’ve graduated, and since I have roughly a million ideas running through my mind about what I want to do, I figured it was time to really sort those out. In doing that, I came to the realization that all my posts on this blog have been about one thing: identity. I’ve talked about what defines me (or what I want to define me, anyways), about finding a place to fit in, and then becoming part of the larger world. This is because I think identity is important.

Most days, I find myself stuck in a routine. Or at least, I did when I was still in school. I would wake up, go to class, and regret not eating breakfast. Then, I would head to the library, grab food, study, and head to my next class. When I came home at night, I would juggle making dinner, doing homework, and cleaning the apartment. I fell into a depression because I never really did anything for myself, so this summer, I decided it was all about me. I took a job as a nanny with minimal work (but awesome pay) so I could focus on myself.

That’s when I came to another important realization. In telling you all about my life, I left out two of the biggest identifiers: reading and writing. (When I say it like that—reading and writing—I always feel like I’m in elementary school and I’m telling my parents about my favorite subjects.) I’ve always loved to read, and I’ve always loved to write. In fact, I’m actually mourning the loss of writing essays now that I’ve graduated. It didn’t always occur to me, though, that my life revolved around these two things, and that if I had my way, I’d build career around them.

So I guess I owe you a story:

Like I mentioned before, I’ve always loved to read and write. I participated in the summer reading programs put on by the library, and I always dabbled with stories that went unfinished after a paragraph (I’ve finally started a real novel, and I’m determined to finish it this time). But growing up, it never hit me that that could be someone’s job. I wanted to be a vet, a teacher, a nurse, and a psychologist. At one point, I even wanted to be a farmer; I even went as far as thinking about checking out a book from the library about how to be a farmer.

It wasn’t until 11th grade, when I started writing fanfics, that I realized I would be content if I could spend the rest of my life writing. (Obviously not fanfics.) During that time, I was a peer mentor—basically a teacher’s aide—for the coolest teacher in the school, and when he asked me what I wanted to do, I answered without even hesitating: I wanted to do something that involved writing. He suggested that I read On Writing by Stephen King.

I have fallen in love with many characters, cried over many. I have lived so many lives in the various works I've read and studied, but none of them have ever hit me like King's memoir. On Writing was the single most inspiring book I have ever read.

So why am I telling you all of this? I guess it’s because, after looking back on that moment, it’s when I realized how I want to spend the rest of my life. When I think about writing, when I have a lack of inspiration and the words just won’t come out, I think about the day, when a certain teacher told me to read a certain book. And then I feel inspired all over again.

That’s when I know I will get there someday.

-MS

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