Starting Somewhere


A little bird flies

High up in the sky above

Then turns back to me

That’s the first poem I remember writing. I was seven years old, and my parents were very proud. My grandparents were proud. I was very proud. It was just an assignment for school, but I had put my heart into it, and they seemed to know it.

It may be the best poem I ever wrote. But this is not a blog about a poet, nor is it the blog of a child prodigy. (Er, obviously. You did read that poem, right?) I did write again, in second grade, but my second effort lacked the emotion of the first (“Rainbows are windows/That show you the fairies’ world/But only a glimpse!”). In fifth grade, I turned my hand to what you could call fiction, if a series titled “BORING” (consisting of pages and pages of my ten-year old, ecstatic/sarcastic–it is possible to be both at the same time–ramblings on our new Macintosh computer) counts.

I published six pieces. My parents had bought a dot matrix printer, too.

I’m 38 years old and a retired anesthesiologist and I FINALLY am learning how to be a proper writer. There, I said it. I didn’t plan to leave medicine so early, and I might (I hope) someday return, but a chronic illness that I’ll get to in a future blog entry knocked me out of the game eighteen months ago, and I haven’t been back since. Last September, a conversation with an old friend made me reconsider writing as more than just a hobby.

I started writing every day, and haven’t stopped since.

My plan for this blog is to share my experience. Why? First, because learning to write and write well is painful and lonely, and shared pain is lessened. Second, because I absolutely live on other writing blogs. Does that mean the world needs another one? Probably not. But there’s a heck of a lot of good advice out there, and I need a home to pull all the helpful stuff together, and this is where I’m going to put it.

Here’s one of the helpful pieces of advice I keep running into: Keep a journal.

Now I can check that one off the list.


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