Today, I have a bit of writing from the personal archives for your reading pleasure and amusement. I believe this was one of the early prompts with my local writer’s group, going back a few years. I came across it while searching for another piece of writing, and decided to give it a refresh and share it here. The joys of writing are ever surprising. Here is some of my backstory with words. Hope you enjoy.
Answering the question why I write is the same as asking me why I breathe. It’s obvious, right? I breathe to live, and I live to write. The first time I wrote something I recall being attached to was in third grade. Our teacher told us we were to draft a poem. The audacity. I remember squirming in my seat seething at her, completely unsure what I was going to do. It was as if I would give birth to something I could not yet comprehend, right there in that seat. I did give birth…to my first poem. It was called Nantucket Island and I was enamored with the words that somehow managed to spill out of me. The first stanza is all that is left in my memory. But a connection happened that day. It was a painful, beautiful awakening that simultaneously terrified and humbled me. I fell in love with words right then. Or that is what I would like to think.
Growing up as an only child, to a single mom working two jobs offers one much opportunity to read. And find trouble. I did both. My grandmother gained me regular access to the library, and I would leave with books stacked as high as I could carry. I read comic books, classics, cereal boxes, signs. Words wooed me and I became their muse.
Music soon found its way into my life. Mom was a lover of the Beatles, Roberta Flack, Carole King, Chicago, the Moody Blues. I became obsessed with the lyrical nature of the words I heard and transposed those that were not included in the albums onto paper. Although I could not carry a note, this writing made sense to me. It suited me well.
It was in these early years I began keeping a journal. I poured into my journal the angst of the years as they passed. Time continued and I wrote through every year I lived. My journal, a more faithful companion than the parade of people who walked in and out of my life.
I had my heart set on writing once I got my life on track. A tumultuous adolescence allowed me a later start to college, and like so many locals, I took the scenic Rhode Island educational journey. The one that includes every college in the state. I had some tiny writing opportunities, and even got some cash in hand for a few small bits for jingle type prose related to products.
My natural inquisitiveness and hunger for truth, led me to believe I wanted to be work in Commercial Advertising or Journalistic Reporting. In college, I enrolled in a journalism class while working in a health club. I naturally wrote an expose style paper on the manipulative and unethical tactics employed by sales staff where I worked. It gave me such stress to work there and at the same time report on the devious activities going on, but I felt compelled to write the truth.
In the end, I decided that the field of writing was too intimidating and competitive. Commercial advertising was manipulative. I did not want to have to sell people on being dissatisfied with themselves enough that they would be compelled to buy whatever I was promoting. Meanwhile, my life was following a natural course and at the time, the path led me toward a field I did not even see coming, but it saw me, and before I knew it, I derailed 100 percent into the field of fitness. Personal Training, Exercise and Fitness consumed my life. Writing became my closet activity. I wrote my way through the next years between training clients, attending school (again) and training for bodybuilding and eventually, Powerlifting competitions. I wrote in coffee shops between appointments as I travelled to clients’ homes.
My Personal Training business flourished and in my free time, I found opportunities to connect with writers’ groups, workshops, and classes occasionally, but it was as if I was living two separate lives. A half dozen is more accurate.
It was 1999 as I attended school and maintained a business, spread thin as stretched taffy, when I had the air knocked right out of me from one of my professors. One of our assignments for the year was to keep an ongoing journal with our reflections on student teaching experiences. One day in class he began to read from one of the journals and telling the large class about how he wanted us all to listen very carefully to what was written. I listened, and at first did not recognize the words. But soon the familiarity even to my ADHD mind became clear. He was reading my words. Meeting with him later the discussion turned to my journal. “Your writing is profound.” That was the end of anything productive happening that day. I sat at the coffee shop on campus, with a stupid smile on my face, staring into space, his words echoing in my mind. I was high on the reality that my college mentor, said my words were profound. Would there be any living with myself? I imagined dying right there on the spot, delirious with the compliment, ready to leave the universe happy as a milk fed kitten, needing nothing more.
My fitness career came to a sudden halt in 2011 when I tore a muscle in my hip. During the slow recovery, I discovered Blogging. One door closed, and another swung wide open. Though I did return in 2013 for coaching local women’s boot camps and managing a couple of clients during that year, I never resumed completely my professional fitness aspirations. I continued, instead, to write, share, and enjoy community with writers and artists from around the world. Through my website Enthusiastically, Dawn (formerly Beneath the Surface: Breath of Faith on Blogger), I have shared faith-based prose, poetry, interviews and hosted online meetings for Journal Keepers called Random Journal Day. I also have been a contributor for several websites.
I have had the honor and pleasure of hosting an event called Planner Boot Camp, and the 200 Day Journal through the blog as well. These efforts garnered attention causing interviews and my planner and journal featured in The Wall Street Journal!
In conclusion, I hope to publish books that inspire authenticity, community, encouragement, and writing as a source of healing, hope and connectedness with self, God, and others. I hope to offer myself toward this end as God leads and allows. I am so grateful for the many people I have connected with over the course of this journey both locally and online! It has been a continual wellspring of blessing, as I’ve connected with others and found a way to express endless inspiration. All through the act of writing.
Dawn Paoletta likes to write, ignore rules, and confess her transgressions while driving. She believes caffeine enhances her personality, and is self -admittedly, the only living expert on the subject of how to conduct one’s vehicle at a 4-way stop sign. Check out more here.
4 thoughts on “How Writing Becomes Life”
I remember those early days. I loved you then and I love who you’ve evolved into.
Looking forward to all your future books😊
Loved reading your story. How inspiring to see God working in you and through you. Thank you for sharing. And I completely agree with your professor!
Excellent essay, and so well-written! It was so vivid, I really felt like I was feeling what you felt!
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