One of the things I love most about teaching writing is hearing from former students and seeing what their writing life is like. Here’s a lovely piece by a student who was in one of my workshops at the Writer’s Center, back in the olden days, and what I love most about reading this is that it echoes exactly what I like to say: It is NEVER too late to write. All you need to do is…start.
The Leather Journal
By Ryan Krausmann
My wife knows me to be a writer. She knows I graduated from college with a degree in Creative Writing. She knows I took time off between jobs in my twenties to write a novel which was never published or workshopped. She knows I talk about wanting to be a writer. She just never saw me doing any writing in the three and half years we have been together.
Maybe she wanted to change that. For our one year anniversary in 2015, my wife got me a present – a small leather journal. It’s a present many writers probably receive. Leather journals are beautiful things when they are blank and my first irrational fear is that I would hate to fill it up with poor, meandering writing.
This pretty collection of paper forces you to write by hand. After a few days of writing I decided on a pattern – every day I would write two pages on a different character. As the days went on I freed myself from that initial irrational fear – dirtying a perfectly clean journal with my weakly written words. An empty journal untouched in a closet is like a nice leather jacket – it is meant to be used and to be among the elements.
I didn’t write every single day. I was able to get writing done on Saturdays and Sundays. On weeknights, I sometimes got around to writing at night after work and while my wife was cooking dinner. I’d go into the bedroom, get my pen and journal from my nightstand, come over to the couch or leather chair, and I dove right into it. Let the words come out.
What I have experienced in my life since the last time I did any writing several years earlier was being put into words – marriage, relationships, and being a man in his thirties. Again, the only goal when I sat down to write was to complete two pages. I liberated myself and my psyche by not producing writing that I would re-read or re-write, or at least not re-read or re-write immediately. I wrote like some would walk around their neighborhood at sunset – solely for the brisk act itself, to collect and articulate thoughts, to be reflective, and to find joy in the simple act. I spent some small amount of minutes of my day doing something I enjoyed - something I have always told myself and others that I enjoyed doing. And then, I closed the journal, put the cap on the pen, and put the journal back on my nightstand.
I wrote from March 1, 2015 to the journal’s completion on January 23, 2016. I plan to sit down soon and re-read it in its entirety. Maybe with a glass of red wine in one hand. The leather journal has a first draft of something in there.
ABOUT: Ryan Krausmann and his wife live in Sausalito, California. He graduated with a BA in English from the University of Central Florida in 2002.