To Grace (Part Four): Finding Your Voice.

10 Aug

In case you are visiting my blog for the first time, here are the previous posts that go with this series: To GraceTo Grace (Part Two): Walking Through The Fire, and To Grace (Part Three): Accepting Love.

Dear Grace,

I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. A few weeks ago (when I was still in Ireland), your mom posted a video on her Facebook page of you singing a song that you had written. As I sat in Ireland with my computer in my lap listening to you sing words that you had written, I smiled. I smiled, but I also cried. During the entire video of you singing something that you had written, there was one thought going through my head: Grace has found her voice as a writer, just like I did at her age.

The video caught me off guard though because I never knew that you had started writing. Even though I saw you about six months ago, we don’t often have the chance to sit and talk for long periods of time. Normally I’m just able to see you during the times that I come to Columbia to have lunch with Meredith (your physical therapist who was also one of my physical therapists). However, when I do have lunch with Meredith, I try to make it a Tuesday because I know that you have a session with her on Tuesdays right after her lunch break.

In terms of writing a song though, I’m so happy and proud that you are beginning to find your voice as a writer. Though I know that what you write is probably very different from what I wrote at your age (since you are very strong in your faith and gain strength from it but I’m not religious), that doesn’t make me any less proud. Writing in itself, no matter the content, is a coping mechanism in a sense. It’s a way that we can make some sense of what it is that we are feeling. However, that doesn’t mean that a small part of me isn’t a little bit worried. When I was your age and found my love of writing, my parents took advantage of the fact that I had found a hobby in which I wasn’t limited by my CP by signing me up for all sorts of writing camps. I went to a creative writing camp for 3 consecutive summers at USC and then went to the creative writing summer program at the SC Governor’s School of the Arts and Humanities. The game changer for me was the summer I spent at the SC Governor’s School. I grew as a writer that summer (though I know that I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am in my writing now without starting this blog back in November of last year). Anyway, the summer I spent at the Governor’s School gave me something that I needed: confidence. After that summer program was over, I made the decision to apply to the SC Governor’s School of Arts and Humanities for the regular school year, which was a residential high school for juniors and seniors who were interested in an area of the arts, such as creative writing, drawing, or theatre. I worked really hard on the story that I submitted for the application and also took part in an interview that was part of the overall application. It was a very scary part in my life. Not scary as in painful, but scary in the fact that everything seemed to ride on whether I was accepted for the program or not.

That was my biggest mistake: putting all my hopes into that one basket. When I didn’t get accepted, I entered a dark place for quite a while. I was depressed, I didn’t want to talk to anyone, and I decided right then that I didn’t want to write anymore. I gave up. Though I wrote a little bit here and there during my first year at boarding school, it was nothing like I had written before, so I took a pretty long writing break. However, when my need to write came back to me in the fall of last year, I didn’t fight it. I welcomed it almost like you welcome back an old friend who you haven’t seen in years but who fits perfectly in your life as if you had seen them yesterday.

I guess what I’m trying to say Grace is I feel like you and I are just so similar. We both have CP, we both got involved with community theatre, and now you’re writing, just like me. Even though I’m so happy that you have begun to find your voice as a writer, I just hope that you aren’t so much like me that you get continually frustrated with yourself. Even though I’m trying to work on not being so critical of my own writing, even Stephen King says that we are our own worst critic. However, that being said, write because you love it. Write because it’s something you need and not merely something you want. And if writing doesn’t do that for you, that’s okay. You’re young, and you have all the time in the world to find that one thing that makes you feel alive: that one thing that makes you want to live instead of merely exist. Wanting to live fully and without hesitation is huge for us Grace, at least for me….especially considering all the pain we’ve been through. However, now I know from personal experience that it’s possible. It’s not exactly easy. I’ve been to hell and back with my writing. I’ve loved it, I’ve given up on it, but in the end, I’ve welcomed it back. I’ve welcomed it back because that is what we do for the things or people we love.




4 Responses to “To Grace (Part Four): Finding Your Voice.”

  1. Ed Lynch August 10, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Very poignant; nicely done! Ever read Letters To A Young Poet? If you haven’t discovered it yet, I truly believe you will find it both amazing and inspiring.

  2. Ed Lynch August 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    Rilke. 🙂


  1. To Grace (Part 5): Gaining strength in little fears. « lifeintheblueridges - October 8, 2012

    […] Here are the previous posts in this series. Take a look! To Grace. To Grace (Part 2): Walking Through The Fire. To Grace (Part 3): Accepting Love. To Grace (Part 4): Finding Your Voice. […]

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