The Permission to Write

“Who wants to become a writer?  And why? Because it’s the answer to everything…it’s the streaming reason for living.  To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life even if it’s a cactus.”

— Enid Bagnold

Without trying to sound too cliche, I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce myself.  My name is Kristin Tenor and I consider myself a novice writer like many others who may follow this blog, even though I’ve been writing in some form or another most of my life.

My love affair with books and stories began at an early age.  I remember spending time alone in my bedroom, scrawling stories on scraps of loose-leaf and binding them together with leftover yarn from my mother’s stash.  One of those stories was titled “Marvin Messes Up,” about a boy who is sent to the grocery store by his mother.  She asks him to bring home a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread, but he becomes so side-tracked by everything else on his way he forgets to bring home the milk and bread and instead brings his mother everything else he finds between the store and home.  Sounds suspiciously like an old Sesame Street bit, doesn’t it?

As time passed, though, I found myself getting side-tracked like Marvin.  I spent most of my adolescence writing five paragraph themes and scribbling like mad in my journal about all the injustices of my small rural world.  Once high school graduation approached I was encouraged to do something “practical” with my life, so I went to business school.  Graduated cum laude with a degree in management from Marquette University, but left empty inside.

cactus2

I became a wife and a stay-at-home mother to two beautiful daughters who are now both married and have families of their own. Once our youngest entered elementary school, I decided to take a short story workshop offered through our local technical college. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the class was designed specifically for senior citizens.  When I arrived for the first class, a man named Paul greeted me at the door and asked if I was the new instructor.  I shook his hand and explained myself.  He then gave me a serious once over and asked where I’d gotten my beautiful face-lift.

Needless to say, I felt intimidated sitting in a classroom of octogenarians who were probably wondering why this young whippersnapper barged into their class.  But, they opened their arms to me.  As I listened to their stories, I realized it wasn’t too late.  I began to write my stories again and haven’t looked back since.

So here I am.  Maybe you have a similar story?

There have been many writers I’ve met who struggle to call themselves writers.  Many think they need to be published in the New York Times or write a bestseller in order to be taken seriously.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I firmly believe all one needs are openness, curiosity and a willingness to share with others what he/she truly cares about—and of course, to write.

We are writers.

We’ve been given the special gift of crafting words into understanding, although our missions may vary.  For some, there’s a need to make sense of this crazy world we live in. Others, it’s the joy that comes from telling a good story.  Or, perhaps, we simply want to leave a part of ourselves with future generations to come, so they can learn from our experience.

You are a writer just like me or Paul from the senior center or Ernest Hemingway.  We’re all travelers down the same road and I couldn’t be any happier than to be your companion on the journey.

Where has your writing journey taken you?  I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 

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