WORDS Cheryl Schindler X Illustration Sierra Lundy
My love of writing began as a young child. As soon as I learned to write, I expressed myself through poetry and simple song lyrics, masking my shyness with a bubbly creative spirit. My style and words were simple in nature due to my age and ability, yet I often received praise for my work. Praise from relatives and teachers added fuel to my passion.
Through my teens, writing became my primary method of releasing the pressures and stresses associated with adolescence. By the age of 15, I guess you could say that I was a troubled teen. My parents began to realize that writing was an effective way to communicate with me. They began to share their feelings through written letters, often left on my bed when I returned home. Visually seeing their message on the page resonated with me in a different manner than hearing spoken words. Written words were powerful and symbolized permanence and authority. To this day, I do not know if it was their tone or the thoughtful and careful selection of words that made the difference.
My excitement for writing never ceased and, in fact, it continued to burn within me. I spent hours in my bedroom late at night writing about love and fears. After entering a few poetry contests, my work was once mentioned on television. Knowing others enjoyed my work drove me to write more. Looking back on some of my work, I can see a common pattern of love, passion, sadness and darkness. I began to realize that writing released my inhibitions. As a writer, I was outgoing and fearless. My feelings poured onto the page in a cathartic mess of scribbles. The voice on the page was courageous and no longer concerned about what others thought. The poems, although sad at times, were beautiful short stories that could be transformed into song. They spoke of the love, heartbreak and struggles of a young woman in search of her identity.
My writing today has evolved into stories and thoughts that define who I am today. One might be inclined to say that writing has been the catalyst to my current identity. The release of bottled-up emotions freed my mind, allowing creativity to flow and giving me an outlet to guide my future. With the stroke of a pen, I can turn a negative experience into a positive outcome. I can shape the story or completely rewrite it, since it is the author who is in control. As the author, I become the one with the ability to shed light where there was once darkness or to mend the broken heart. My thoughts and the pen can transform the story, strip emotions and restructure the ending.
The poem collection from my past remains filed in a cabinet drawer. I shall keep the poems forever as a reminder of the place where my mind once was…only to smile as I read them, knowing how far I have come in my life as a writer, as a person and as a creator. These words are memories, moments and thoughts, captured at times of joy, sadness and misery. They speak of those pings you get in your heart when you first fall in love. They speak of loss. But most of all, they speak of times when strength and courage were needed.
With the freedom to write, simply known as time, I wish to further develop my penmanship. However, strangely enough, since finding true love in my life, I can no longer think of the words faster than I can type. Happiness and joy have hindered my ability to dig deeper into my emotions, leaving a blank page disenchanted. Perhaps it has nothing to do with love and it is merely a reflection of my day job.
In adulthood, I write for a living, and by day’s end, I no longer wish to write. A winning business proposal might pay the bills, but this is not where I wish to divulge my bottled passion. Fiction, friction and mad tales about characters who only I can see in my mind are the words bursting to get out. Yet, when I get home, I pull out my laptop and my mind can no longer think. The characters remain as ideas scribbled onto notes that sit on my bedside table waiting for someone to pick them up and bring them to life. Characters with vibrant personalities, unusual features and dark plots are resting dormant until their creator has the time and energy to awaken their spirits.
A day does not pass without my mind wandering into the abyss of writing ideas, new words, character traits and crazy plots—quite the opposite of the fastidious style of my business writing. I long for the days when my insouciant, childlike writing returns and carefree poems and short stories of wonder fill my notebooks: the days when scribbles on napkins and scrap pieces of paper take you through a lifetime of special moments without photographs, leaving the pictures to your imagination.
Expressing myself through written words is a never-ending learning experience that continues to evolve through each phase of my life. My journey as an author is far from over, it has only just begun.