My Kindergarten School Photo
“Be regular and orderly in your life,
so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
– Gustave Flaubert
I first read that quote during my November writing retreat in Lake Arrowhead. I have found myself coming back to that quote, re-reading it, and recognizing that it directly applies to my life.
I’m the girl who has always been described as “quiet.” In fact, I used to be so shy and quiet, that my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Wilson, asked my mom if I ever spoke at home. For a while, I didn’t speak at all in my kindergarten class. I was listening, I was watching, I was learning. I just wasn’t speaking.
Obviously that changed since I was a graduation speaker at my elementary school, junior high school, and high school graduations. (In fact, Fairfax High School held their ceremony at the Greek Theatre). I was a teacher for twelve years, a career that required me to get up in front of a group and speak. Every day.
Yet, I still consider myself a relatively shy and quiet person. I don’t usually start conversations with random strangers. I don’t always know how to extend beyond small talk a conversation with someone I’ve just met.
And I am most definitely a person who likes order and routine. One day a week, I pay my bills. One day a week, I go grocery shopping. Each day, I write myself a list of things to do.
But, in my writing, I’m more uninhibited. I’m more candid about what’s happening in my life.
Last year, I wrote about the effects chronic pain has on my sex life.
Last year, I wrote about my mixed-race family.
Last year, I wrote about envying my son and my mom and the passion with which they live their lives.
Last year, I wrote about parenting while living with an “invisible disability.”
Those are just a few of my published personal essays from last year. Not too shabby for a shy, quiet girl. Makes me smile and wonder what I’ll write about this year.