WHY I WRITE: Unpacking the Past

I was up in the attic yesterday, finally putting away Christmas decorations and doing a bit of reorganizing. In addition to those tasks, I hoped to find three items that were packed away … somewhere.

Somehow, I found all three things together in the second or third storage bin I opened. They were stacked neatly on top of a few autographed comic books, my early newspaper articles, and a copy of my senior picture, just waiting for me. 

I’ve been reading about retropsychokinesis as research for a novel. Part of me wants this good fortune to be a result of that. Future me did something to influence past me to put those three things together so they’d be easy to find. But I know I probably just got lucky.

Anyway, two of the items were compilations of the final projects for English 344 during the fall semester of 1997 and English 356 during the spring semester of 1998. I’ll write about the third item another time.

The collections represent a pivotal year in my life. A time when I started to come into my own as a writer and developed enough self confidence to pursue a career in journalism. By early 1999, I was doing freelance writing for Burlington Free Press. 

I’ve written here before about the influence Chris Bohjalian had on me as a fledgling writer (Why I Write: A Writer Named Chris, Dec. 6, 2018), and English 344 was the class he taught. The other bound set is from the personal essay class taught by Kelly Thomas, an amazing human being I will write more about at another time. I wish I had a collection of work from the feature writing class Casey Seiler taught during the fall 1998 semester. He completes the troika of mentors in the early part of my writing life. I’ll write about him sometime, too.

At any rate, I thought it would be fun to share a photo of my attic discoveries. The only thing left to do now is open them and read what I thought was good writing on my part over 20 years ago. But I don’t know if I can handle that much cringing.

Twenty years from now, I’ll probably look back on this blog and do the same thing, so what the hell, right? Guess I’ll dive in.

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