I was once a girl who wrote in her diary every night before bed. Not about my feelings, fears and aspirations, but a daily story of what had happened that day. I never talked about a boy I liked, who my best friend was, I just told stories about these people, as if an objective onlooker. All things considered, these notebooks that I still have, are a psychologist’s funpark; over a decade of entries that got longer as I got older.
I never showed anyone, it never even crossed my mind that I could write. I wanted to be a microbiologist, wear a lab coat, stare into microscopes.
Years later, when math and chemistry and I failed eachother miserably, I was still writing, still not showing anyone. (Save my journalism work.) I wrote a chapter of what could be a book, years later showed someone at a summer writing workshop.
Then I wrote the book. And only showed my friends, the ones that I was sure would only praise me.
Many more years later, tired of staring at a pile of printed pages on my desk, I took a very deep breath, and contacted a publisher.
I’m still petrified of people reading my work. But it’s become the norm, this being slightly afraid on a daily basis. I’ve returned to the diary habit, only these days it’s not in a lined, spiral notebook, it’s in public, right here on this page for you all to see. It too is scary, but without the fear I no longer feel alive.
I watched my son dumping dirt in his truck at the playground today, he’s only seven years younger than the age I started writing, I thought, remembering those diaries. His box of chalk lay next to me. I took the pink one, drew a heart, then slowly wrote out the title of my book, then New York City, the place where it all started, then Athens, the place where I gave it life.
Rain and wind will wash away my words, they’re merely scribbled in dust, but before they do, maybe someone will come by and see them, maybe a child will wonder why someone wrote “Pieces” on the playground’s floor.