The first time i've written for a long time | Teen Ink

The first time i've written for a long time

November 1, 2008
By Rachell Li SILVER, Sydney, Other
Rachell Li SILVER, Sydney, Other
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

As soon as you write something down, it is yours forever. And, if you wanted to, you could show someone else, so they could keep it too. But really, it is yours forever. If anyone ever wants to take it away from you, all you need to do is remember and to remind them that, it is yours forever.

When I was younger, around ten, when I still believed that there was a chance of doing what I wanted whenever I wanted for an entire lifetime, I wanted to be an author. It seemed liberating in a strange way, like somehow one person could tell another a wonderful story that was inspiring, humorous and sorrow stricken but not know. How could you affect someone that much and not know?

So, I wrote my own stories. They were short and they were terrible. I never showed them to anyone because I was not proud of them. I thought they were terrible. But, I loved writing them all the same. I didn’t know too many words and the ones that I did know were spelt incorrectly. I was and will always be a terrible speller. So I wrote my short fault ridden books and told no one. All I told them was that I wanted to be an author. The only story I ever wrote and shared was about a dog I did not know, did not care about and did not invent. His name was Fly and I thought he was good enough because I had seen him on TV. I didn’t even change his name.

Six years later and I share my stories. They are ones about boys with eating disorders, girls who follow strangers and kids that know more than their parents. Excuse me, but I have a mould to break. Sometimes my teacher says, ‘Rachell, this is really not what we are looking for, are you sure you understood the question?’ I shake my head but I actually did. So she smiles and is willing give me another chance. I take that chance but I hand in a piece of paper next time. There is nothing of me on it.

Oscar Wilde is my favourite writer and I have all his books, all his poems and all his plays. I haven’t read all of them and I think I really need to. But I still don’t, because I am scared I will not like him as much after. I have read ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ though. I made it out to be better than it actually was because I saw a review in the paper and it got four stars. However, there is one thing I remember about that story, and it is when the painter, Basil felt that he could not sell his painting, nor could he let it hang in a gallery, because he felt that he had simply put too much of himself in it.

It wasn’t self-consciousness. If that were the problem, he would not paint as well as he does. Painters are brave because they know that anyone can paint and yet they do it. This is how I see writers. Anyone can write. They impress no one, maybe except themselves. Yet they do it. As a ten year old, I did not feel the need to impress anyone, so I wrote for myself. I could not show anyone my stories because I knew that they were small pieces of me. The stories were about boys named Jack who played football and sheep who lost their mothers. My name is not Jack, I have never enjoyed playing or watching football and I am certainly not a sheep. Yet, they were me.

Rejection wasn’t an issue. I was too young to know that people are always polite and too old to think that I was always right. I was reluctant to share because I only had so much in me, I couldn’t afford to lose it to anyone, not even my mother or father, or anyone who would not understand.

Now I write for numbers. Hopefully numbers that will ensure an A. If the numbers are not as high as I would like them to be, which they often are, my spirit does not suffer, I am just disappointed. I do not feel sick because of the pointlessness of the exercise. I am sick because I am failing English.

Of course I do not want to fail so I write as many words as they ask me and I hand them in with no problems. In the very beginning I had some reservations, but now it comes easily, naturally, on a weekly basis. On the piece of paper is not something I wrote with my hands, it is constructed with a ticking machine, by a machine.

For school I wrote a story about how I felt and my teacher gave a worksheet on structure. She said that structure was important and that there needs to be certain sequences, descriptions and lots of showing-not-telling. I knew all of this because I listen in class so I will not fail English. But I was weary. I never thought life had anything to do with a set sequence, I never felt the need to tell someone about the sunsets and the dirt roads because I thought that surely they knew. Had they not opened their eyes on a new morning and had they never walked a trodden path? I had no intention of showing them anything because they would never understand, understand that I have something to say and they are going to ignore it. I had no faith in anyone else and I am tired and selfish.

In short, I was a terrible writer. But, I wrote for myself. The stories were real and the words were me. It amazed me whenever I looked down the page and I understood what they meant and I hoped so dearly that others would too. But, I learnt that they did not want to understand, they wanted requirements met and a showcase of several different sentence structures. They wanted flair and sophistication. I just wanted people to understand that I am tired, but I am true.

Someone I admire went through art school and said that he had lost all desire to create any art. When I write a story, I do it because I am instructed and because I am not all that bad after all if I just follow orders. This year, I wrote a story about a ‘making choices’ and I was sure to include a character description, vivid imagery and to use words that not even I understood. I got an A and the teacher was glad I was making an effort.

I write because I have to and no more. This scares me. My own words are no longer part of me. We do not talk. We never fight. And I feel we understand each other less and less. They are not mine; they are my English teacher’s.

But I am old enough to know that I do not want to abandon this because it would mean abandoning not just a little sliver, but a whole slice of myself. I cannot afford to lose so much after everything else because there will be nothing left and one day I will wake up and feel as if I am only doing things because I have to. I will never be uncomfortable, because no one will ever see me and I am just another girl who succeeds but without a mind and without any intention otherwise. I never wanted that.

Oh. By the way, today it rained and the soft, soothing drops of sky are once again beginning to fall. I know this because though my heavy velvet curtains are drawn, I can hear the familiar echoes of water sliding down the foggy windowpane in no particular hurry. I cannot see them, but I can imagine the trails that the leave, like the trails of the buzzing insects in the trees. If I stop long enough and breathe in slowly, I can sense the rich aroma of the worms doing their job and turning earth. I have always had a keen sense of hearing and smell. My hair is an unforgiving melancholy brown.

The author's comments:
I really do love my English teachers, i do. I just wish i understood that school and life are different. But don't worry, she has told me that now. She told everyone.

Similar Articles


This article has 360 comments.

on Oct. 16 2017 at 10:26 pm
FluffMania BRONZE, Republic, Missouri
2 articles 0 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world." -Jim Carrey

The fact that your teacher ignores the words your heart gives to the world is heartbreaking. Teachers are supposed to not only teach the lesson but also encourage the students to put their own twist on the assignment. By telling you that you have to write in such a way that your words don't even belong to you, your teacher is shoving you in a box that you clearly don't fit in. She should focus less on tailoring your writing to fit her lesson and more on tailing her lesson to fit your writing. Plus, while I support the idea that showing can paint a picture for the reader, she also needs to learn that sometimes telling is more powerful than showing, as is the case in this beautiful piece.

on Aug. 1 2017 at 12:22 pm
never-tire-of-doing-write BRONZE, Concordia, Missouri
4 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that because what the world needs is people who have come alive."-Howard Thurman

I can relate to that. I'm definitely a writer by feeling and I find it hard to write when I can't feel what I write. I've said before that I can't write what I can't feel. It's definitely good to realize the importance of personal writing. This is an amazing article addressing that. Awesome job.

on Apr. 28 2017 at 7:03 am
HereSheIs BRONZE, Wellesley, Massachusetts
3 articles 0 photos 187 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." -Plato

Yes! A very real and beautiful telling of your writing journey and good job bringing up that English class writing is not real writing

jedjake BRONZE said...
on Sep. 19 2016 at 9:53 pm
jedjake BRONZE, Austin, Texas
3 articles 1 photo 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
This is the way the world ends not with a bang but a whimper- T.S Eliot

I love it, it is sad and tantalizing, confusing, and yet so true, your words like my words and all words are more you than most know, keep it up girl.

on Jun. 1 2016 at 11:17 pm
ambivalent SILVER, West Bend, Wisconsin
7 articles 0 photos 180 comments

Favorite Quote:
everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. the worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. [sylvia plath]

*raises hand*

on Jun. 1 2016 at 1:02 pm
LittleRedDeliriousPrince SILVER, Parma Heights, Ohio
7 articles 0 photos 100 comments
This is absolutely brilliant. I have no words to describe how much I agree with everything you said.

FoodSlyer GOLD said...
on Dec. 8 2015 at 8:15 pm
FoodSlyer GOLD, Lakeland, Florida
12 articles 0 photos 2 comments
I want to send this to my English teacher

on Jul. 7 2015 at 11:55 pm
ThisEmilyDa1 SILVER, BF, New Mexico
6 articles 0 photos 99 comments

Favorite Quote:
only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile
-Albert Instien
the only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.

Everybody raise your hand if you feel the same way. If you don't raise your hand...write some more! :)

Cindy Dinh said...
on Jan. 28 2015 at 2:37 pm
Cindy Dinh, San Jose, California
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Perfection! I really love this piece.

LBE23 PLATINUM said...
on Apr. 23 2014 at 2:02 pm
LBE23 PLATINUM, Oxford, Michigan
33 articles 0 photos 14 comments
Oh my goodness, this is so perfect! You wrote what every writer feels, but few have the courage to say! 

on Apr. 22 2013 at 10:52 pm
transparantspirit434 PLATINUM, Farmington, New Mexico
40 articles 0 photos 40 comments

Favorite Quote:
I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. -Hebrews 13:5

Holy goodness... this sounds like it came directly from me. I know my words too. I write for me. Exellent... goodness gracious this was so good... I can't even tell you. Great job!!!

on Apr. 19 2013 at 8:48 pm
Bluetooth13 SILVER, A Town In, Texas
8 articles 0 photos 46 comments

Favorite Quote:
To play a wrong note is insignificant, to play without passion is inexcusable.

~ Ludwig van Beethoven

hey, im pretty new. Please check out my work :)

Imu30 said...
on Mar. 31 2013 at 7:47 am
Wow, this is....amazing..

A_____ said...
on Feb. 19 2013 at 4:56 pm
A_____, Columbus, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 133 comments
Hey - thanks for this.  I really needed to read it at this moment in time because it feels like a reflection of me. Thanks a lot.

on Feb. 5 2013 at 6:41 pm
This is an gutsy story. To reveal yourself and the loss of caring about your own voice was powerful. Stay true.

Mundanely said...
on Feb. 4 2013 at 9:34 pm
Mundanely, Wheeler, Wisconsin
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Chilling, breathtaking, and heartbreaking.

on Dec. 15 2012 at 1:51 pm
TheSkyOwesMeRain GOLD, Irvine, California
13 articles 1 photo 299 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life isn't measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments which take your breath away.

You are only as strong as your weakest link.

I love it! :) I know how you feel, I don't enjoy writing at school for this reason, because it's all response to literature, and I don't think the essays I write at school are truly mine, just rewordings of whatever is discussed in class. Good job!

CammyS SILVER said...
on Nov. 30 2012 at 5:45 pm
CammyS SILVER, Papillion, Nebraska
5 articles 0 photos 188 comments

Favorite Quote:
No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.
H. G. Wells
Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.
Mark Twain

I can really relate to this. I sometimes do this, but this year I really like my English teacher. She understands me and she understands my writing. If I try to slap something down on paper to get an A, she won't give it to me. She'll make me work to my actual potential and I love that. But yes, I've had teachers like that in the past and I totally get where you're coming from. 

on Nov. 3 2012 at 3:48 pm
amelia.estaire SILVER, Osceola, Indiana
7 articles 0 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I take real people and put them in extraordinary situations." - Robert Cormier

This is so true! I agree with pretty much everyhting. I love to write. It's my escape from my realitly to a fantasy that i've always wanted. and those rubrics and rules when given an assignment for english, dosen't let me secape at all. anyway, I love this piece so much. very well written!

on Oct. 30 2012 at 7:03 pm
one-thing-you-never-put-in-a-trap BRONZE, New York, New York
2 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
And being young and full of folly, I fell in love with melancholy.
-Robert Frost
(It's not really personal but I like it)

Awesome! Definetly agree with alot of things said here. There is a big culture of B.S. writing in my school, basically kids just write what they know the teacher wants to hear with out puting in any thought or emotion. I also totally feel the same way about your writing being a piece of you. Usually I don't want to share my writing because I don't want people to see that other side of me that I don't usually show.