I suppose one could call me a hobby slut. I have a drive to learn new crafts, but few ever really stick. Once I’m halfway into one, I’ve already got my eye on another. Some may say it’s because I’m a Gemini and have a limited ability to stay put for very long. Could be true. Whatever the cause, the end result of most of my endeavors is the same–sudden termination due to lack of interest. There was that bout of cake decorating where I insisted on rolling fondant for everyone’s birthday party/baby shower/bridal shower. Before that was candle-making, soap-making, and carving. Even when I was a kid I went through this short-but-fervent obsession with cross-stitching plastic coasters. I become engrossed in whatever I do for a brief time, then let it go as easily as it came.
There are a few activities that have stuck, despite my lack of effort at keeping them alive. There’s gardening, a hobby that began when I watched my mother coax the clay-filled, rocky soil of Southern Maryland into a fruitful garden of herbs and vegetables. Then there’s sewing and baking, crafts taught me by both my mother and her mother, the fruits of which were harvested in eighth grade when I received with shamed pride the award for highest grade in home economics (gratifying, but a death-knell for my dating/coolness prospects in the following four years).
And then there’s writing. I remember my fifth grade teacher telling me I was a natural writer, but not really paying much attention to her. I remember my high school best friend failing twelfth grade English and needing to win a Halloween horror story contest to boost her grade via extra credit. We spent the night at her house, laughing uncontrollably as I penned the the goriest, most ridiculous story that ended with her ex-boyfriend’s severed head in the refrigerator. She passed (this was before kids brought guns to school and budding authors got expelled for their thoughts). I spent my twelfth grade summer vacation awake until two a.m. writing the most awful novel ever put to paper. And I spent my freshman year of college writing my roommate’s English papers in exchange for her writing my French ones (a trade that saved me from failing French 201). But then I left school and my writing stopped. Completely. I had a job (a crappy one, at that), and rent to pay and there was no room for writing. Eventually, though, the desire resurfaced. I was working as a secretary where my other co-workers were somewhat intellectually challenged, so what took them all day to do took me two hours, tops. I started writing to pass the time. I wrote a children’s story and sent it to Harper Collins. I got one rejection and let the whole thing go. Looking back at that letter, I could kick myself; it was a personal rejection from the editor herself, praising my story and explaining it just didn’t fit with their current lineup. As young and inexperienced as I was, I took that rejection as the ultimate denial of my ambition and stopped writing again. It took many more years–peppered with a few community college writing courses that were more harmful than helpful–for me to take up the keyboard once again.
I guess what I’m saying is, I’m not writing right now. It won’t take years like it did last time, but maybe a little more time. But, soon enough, the desire will become uncontrollable and I’ll be back at it once again. Already, ideas are jumbling in my head when I go to bed at night and it won’t be long before they demand my waking mind, as well.