I Write: The Awful Truth
by Sandy Tritt
the closet the day I attended my first prose
workshop. I distributed
copies of my manuscript to my fellow
transgressors, hung my head, and
whispered my admission: "My name is Sandy. I
am a... writer." The
members of this group understood what only
those who have experienced
such addictions can understand: Writing is
not a job. It's not a hobby.
It's a drive, as basic as eating and
sleeping and drinking, as
necessary as oxygen. It is something that is
in me and must be released.
always been ashamed of my passion. As a
pre-teen, I eagerly told anyone
who'd listen that I wanted to be a writer
when I grew up.
it," my mother assured my father.
a teacher?" my teacher asked.
enough books already," the librarian said.
went on to
college and majored in English Literature. I
loved it. My counselor
hated it. "You are so good in math. You need
to think about the
future." I didn't listen. "You can't pay the
rent by writing." I didn't
care. "You need a real job." I didn't need
anything except a pen and a
pad of paper. "Unless you want to depend on
a man ... " And he had me.
Those were fighting words in 1975. I Am
Woman. I can do anything.
Listen to me roar.
programmer. I learned to manipulate numbers
to propagate whatever
pretension was required: production is on
schedule, customers are
happy, the business is solvent. I learned to
use fact to tell lies. But
at night, my compulsion surfaced. I used
made-up people with made-up problems—to
the Truth. I wrote
late into the night, the pen my secret
lover, the paper my confidante.
For ten years I satisfied my cravings with
nocturnal fixes. Then, busy
having babies and feeding babies and
cleaning babies, my binders went
to the attic and my pen went dry. I tried to
compensate. I smoked. I
drank. I binged on chocolate. But nothing
satisfied that carnal craving.
remember which day or what inspired it—I
retrieved those dusty
three-ring binders and read the words I'd
written years before. My
heart beat faster. Sweat dotted my forehead.
I couldn't stop. I read
for days, my excitement growing. I spent
weeks typing, months revising.
I endured the rejection, the rewrites, the
criticism. I embraced the
joy, the pain, the fear. I submitted to my
passion, finally admitting
that awful truth: I still want to be a
writer when I grow up.
Tritt. All rights reserved.
may reproduce portions of these
essays and stories for educational
purposes like writing workshops as
long you distribute our copyright
notice and our URL
each page. For use in conferences,
websites, blogs or other uses not
mentioned here, please contact us.