I’ve always loved words and art, and the relationship between the two that exists in my inner world.
I remember when I was in college, I had a professor in one of my writing classes tell me that painting and art were very different from writing, and I had to make sure I knew the difference in order to write well.
This is the part of college and experience that I regret allowing me to influence me the most when it comes to my writing.
There are certain things people are right about, and then there are times they are wrong. My professor was wrong, and her words have lasting consequences. At the time, perhaps foolishly, and definitely naively, I believed her because I thought she had my best interests in mind.
It took awhile for me to realize that wasn’t the case. Her words, spoken from a pedestal of education rather than a real foundation of a relationship, were harmful. They should have wafted over me like smoke, but they ended burning into my heart.
She was “technically” right that there is a difference between writing and art, but it wasn’t going to make my writing worse if I drew inspiration from art and painting and used them interchangeably. I’d fixed my writing during her class, and I’m not sure I’ll really ever look at it again.
But I do write, in my own way, once more.
It was only after I admitted she was wrong, and believed it, that I really allowed myself to write the stories I’d always wanted to. The scar inside of me remains, but the hurt has healed.
Now that I am a teacher, I try to keep this in mind as I talk with my students. I’m sure I’ve scarred some of them at times (telling them my Dora the Explorer drug cartel theory, for one) but I do make sure I know where they are coming from, and where they’d like to go.
I think that’s an important thing to realize as you get older. People can be wrong, even if you’ve never thought they would be before. If you get knocked down, don’t stay down. There is something incredibly wonderful and meaningful you were meant to in this life, even if it’s small or weird or simple, but we still have to choose to do it. That of course, just makes writing all the more miraculous to me.
What I would have lost, if I had listened to the wrong people, or to the people who were wrong.