Quote of the Week: “The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” Maya Angelou
Prompt of the Week: Write about your favorite childhood beverage or drink. Describe it. How often did you have it? How did you get it? What else can you tell us about it? Does anyone come to mind when you think about this drink?
When people find out I’m a writer, some will tell me, “Oh, I can’t write,” or “Writing’s not my thing.” They might roll their eyes or launch into a story about how they hated fifth grade English (I haven’t met many people who did like it, by the way, this writer included). Others will ask if I majored in English in college (I didn’t) or if I attended any of those writing programs (just one, for a week, in the summer of 1997). A couple will tick off the names of every other writer in town or even in the state of Hawaii, assuming that we must know one another by virtue of our vocation and passion. Others express anguish at the mere thought of writing.
And yet writing is something we do every day. You already know how to write. Don’t worry about grammar or sentence structure or plot. Don’t worry about big words or verb tenses or writing in proper English. Write simply to tell a story, to share an experience, to play with an idea. Write for the purpose of exploration and examination. Write because it’s fun or because you have something important to say. Write because you want to remember. Write because you don’t want to forget.
Gifted young writers abound, but many great writers started late in life, too. Even if you don’t aspire to write a blockbuster novel, what about writing your memoirs for your children or your grandchildren? Maybe you got a great idea for a short story when you saw someone trying to hitch a ride to Hilo. Maybe you’re a poet. Maybe you’re an artist. Maybe you want to help other people. Maybe you have a special expertise or like the idea of writing or creating whole worlds in your head.
Give it a try. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write for 10 minutes about the above prompt. That’s all you have to do. Try this with a friend—meet for coffee or tea and write the weekly prompt every Thursday morning. Too busy at work? Transform 10 minutes of your lunch break into a continuing ed session. Summer school teachers—steal these prompts and make them your own! Got kids (or parents)? Make it a family challenge—after dinner on Sunday night, have everyone write the weekly prompt and then share it with each other (moms and dads can help little ones get their words down on paper). You’ll be done in 15 minutes (including writing and reading aloud), and afterward you can reward everyone with dessert. If you like what you wrote enough to share it, consider posting it on the North Hawaii News Facebook page. We’d all love to see it.
You have something to say, I just know it. Let this be the summer you write all about it.
Darien Gee is a national bestselling author based in Waimea. Her most recent novel is “The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society.” She also writes under the name Mia King. Visit her at dariengee.com or miaking.com.