Thursday, May 17, 2012

Guest Post from Patricia

Sometimes we need a reality check.  Life isn't perfect, but that fact can be difficult to face.  In a world full of "perfect moms" & "DIYers", Patricia is honest and realistic.  Her blog is full of well written stories, colorful anecdotes, and a truthful persona that can only be hers.  If you haven't visited her blog yet, you definitely should.  It's by far one of my favorites; no fake or conformist personality for her.  It helps that she's hilarious and sarcastic!  As a side note, Patricia recently had to shut down her blog/twitter/social media sites for personal reasons, and start new ones.  Don't give up if you can't reach her new blog quite yet; she'll have it up and running soon.

Oh man.  Writing for English's blog.  How awesome is that?  I love English, her awesome mashup lack-of accent, her freckles, and her photography.  Seriously, hers is one of the blogs in the neverending sea of blogs that I consider myself lucky to have found.  (So thank you for this opportunity madam!!!) Now I will stop being creepy and introduce myself.  

My name is Patricia.  I write over at Little Red Writing Hood.

This is me, and Stockholm's magnificent City Hall (or Stadshuset) behind me.  

This is me, defaming a wall that's older than America (while wearing Elvis earrings.)
I go by "Alex" in my meatspace life. 

I know, classy. 

Now that I've made a positive and lasting impression on you, I figure it's time to talk about myself for a bit--particularly how I got into writing.  My story is a strange one, but I'll try to make it entertaining.  That is kind of the job of storytellers.

My writing started in elementary school; everyone thought I was an amazing writer, from classmates to teachers.  No one denied my talent.  One teacher dropped the not so subtle hint "S.E. Hinton was only sixteen when she wrote the Outsiders...." scrawled across my perfect grade.  (Little did she know I hate S.E. Hinton.)  For all intents and purposes, I was a hit.

I was not, however, a hit at home.  My dad hated everything.  He hated creativity especially.  Most of the time he hated me.  This only progressed the older I got.  He had a special deep-seated hatred for writing.  I don't know why.  After my first C grade, he burned every book I owned, along with all my Christmas presents, and warned me to stop writing.

I didn't listen.  At nine years old, I had a great story in mind. It was science-fiction.  I told no one about this story.  I wrote it in secret, in a series of blue legal pads.  It was brilliant, if I do say so myself.  I dreamed of the day I would unveil it at school and my career would skyrocket off into the firework display set off just for me.

One random day, Dad found the story, read it.  It was possibly 50 or 60 notebook pages long by this point.  He would read a page, tear the page out, tear it into shreds, and throw it on the floor.  Being a smartass, I pretended like this didn't bother me.  I insulted him while he read it.  I insisted that he must have liked my writing otherwise he wouldn't be reading it.  I hid the heartbreak.  I watched my creation be destroyed.  And the worst part is that after he was finished, he got up and walked away, leaving me to sweep up the tiny little blue papers and throw them away.  His only words during the entire fiasco were "It's shit."

I didn't write anything after that, unless school explicitly called for it.  And those stories were loved too.

But I was too scared to write.  I never wrote anything for myself, on my own after that.  I stayed too ashamed and disgusted at myself and the world to even try.  My yearbooks are filled with comments from classmates encouraging me to keep writing.  You'll be famous, they said.  I ignored it for years.  I kind of drifted pointlessly around, became an art teacher for awhile, then drifted pointlessly around some more.

Then one day, I started writing again.  

Just that simple.  

I have tons of short stories.  I have a novel in progress (and yes, it's science-fiction.)  I wrote an embarrassingly long, 200 chapter series placed in the Fallout universe.  I blog nearly every day. Some days I wake up and feel like the best writer in the world.  Some days I wake up and think that nothing I ever make deserves to be read by anyone ever.

But the important thing is to do what you love.  I love writing.  I simply could not live without it.  My Dad practically ripped open my ribcage and tore out my heart and stomped on it.  I had done nothing wrong except try to be creative, and use what I consider to be my one and only talent on this earth.  I was a kid.  There's no forgetting that.  I'm reminded of it every day.  Some days it's my driving force.  Some days it prevents me from writing more than a few words.  But the point is, I write.

I also Photoshop myself into pictures with Mr. Spock and I also ruin photos with handsome Peruvian friends.....

What I'm trying to tell you is very redundant, but yet insanely important, so I don't feel bad repeating it.

Don't ever let anyone tell you what to do or what not to do.  Don't let anyone make you feel inferior.

I have spent almost fourteen years repairing the damage inflicted on me by a stupid bully.  I'm not saying you'll never feel hurt and I'm not saying you'll never feel like whatever you're doing is kind of crappy, because you'll have those days.  Use those days to push you to do better.  Remember that you are special and you do have something to offer the world.  Whether the world is thousands of people as an audience, or a few close loved ones, they are your world and they matter, and you matter.  And so do your talents and passions.  They matter.  Think about that.  Really think about it.

My life is still chaotic, as are all people's.  Writing wasn't the answer to my problems, but once I accepted that I must do the thing I was meant to do, other things started falling into place--like EMT/Firefighting school, for example.  I would have been going down a long road of misery had I not listened to my heart and the little voice that said, start on that novel.  When I presented friends, very sheepishly, with the idea I should write, they already knew.  Duh.  They knew I was good at it, they knew I would succeed.  They knew it before I did, because they believed in me when I had no belief in myself.

Find what you truly love, no matter how silly it sounds, and do it.  And keep doing it.  And do it even more. 


  1. Hmmmm...your home story is very familar. I too had a horrible childhood being told that I would never be more than a "trailer trash waitress." How encouraging.

    I also agree that a person needs to follow their dream no matter what. It took me more than a decade to realize that, I am just now on that path. :)

    Thank you for the encouragement!

  2. This post was both equal parts horrifying and inspiring.

    I completely agree with you that you need to do what drives you and keep doing it, no matter what anyone says.


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