When I hand off my business card to both new and old contacts, they often compliment me on my company name, Write Is Might Louisville. It came from a button — the laminated kind with a safety pin you impale on a lapel — that I’ve had hanging on my bulletin board since I was in high school. (That's it in the photo.)
It bears that simple message, minus the word Louisville, in white type on a red background. It’s attributed to Walden Theatre, though I never quite understood why a group of thespians would use it as their tagline.
I have no idea where I got the darn thing since I have never attended a show at Walden, but I’ve always loved the sentiment. Over the years, referring back to that succinct concept encouraged me to persevere in my writing career.
For me, writing has always been a major source of my strength. It was the primary skill that allowed me to excel in school, from first grade all the way through graduate school.
It helped me build name recognition and a solid reputation through a weekly column I wrote for Business First for seven years. It also enabled me to sort out various emotions and trauma through journaling and 12-step recovery work. And it gave me a creative outlet through sporadic composition of marginally decent poetry.
I wrote last year about the passing of my great aunt Jean. It’s taken nearly a full year for my mother to settle her estate, including the belongings left behind at Jean’s Crescent Hill apartment building that Mom has now inherited. In the past 11 months, my momma has carted home everything from photo albums to clothes to keepsakes, trying to decide whether to hold onto them, consign or donate them, or just throw them away. She’s asked me on numerous occasions if I want that gravy boat or this picture frame.
Jean and I were not close, so most of her things don’t hold any meaning for me, and the majority have not been to my tastes. Plus, I am the opposite of a hoarder. I don’t want more knick-knacks and other random crap; I am on a mission to get rid of what I already have.
In the latest round of my mom’s purge of Jean’s apartment this past week, there was one item I simply had to claim: a manual, 1942 Model 17 Remington typewriter, complete with a hard case and its original instruction manual. As I unlatched it slowly, I felt like Vincent Vega as he opened Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase in “Pulp Fiction.” I would swear it emanated the same golden light.
(The only thing I had taken off Mom’s hands prior to this treasure was an ancient, unabridged Webster’s dictionary that must weigh 10 pounds, which now sits on an end table in my living room. Do you see a pattern here?)
What the hell am I going to do with an old manual typewriter, you ask? Well, I’d like to find a way to display it in such a way that it won’t collect dust. But I may fire it up for old time’s sake, too.
See, I actually used one like it years ago. It was a little larger, and it previously belonged to my grandfather, but it was a bona fide manual machine, complete with a carriage return lever that I would gleefully smack when I reached the end of a line on the page.
It took months, but I typed up all of my teen angst poetry on that old thing. In the end, the joints in my hands were legitimately sore, and I really felt like I had accomplished something significant. I still have all those pages filed in a binder in my basement.
Something about slamming down the keys on that typewriter felt so authentic. I imagined myself in the newsroom with Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant in “His Girl Friday.” Appropriate that I became a journalist a few years later, I suppose, although that was not in my master plan — I fell into it by happy accident.
Writing, for me, is all about telling stories. Whether those stories are my own, for an article or a client's ad, I love the entire process from beginning to end. Written communication has always come more naturally to me than verbal, and I’m sure that's because I was a shy, socially awkward child. I had a talent for writing almost immediately, and then I was fortunate to meet several fantastic teachers along the way who helped cultivate my skills.
The first stories I told were for Young Authors projects in grade school. One was about the adventures of my favorite stuffed toy, a tiny rabbit named Mrs. Bun Bun. She’s one keepsake that will never end up in a yard sale (see photo).
Later, I wrote about two warrior women in a story I called, “The Avenger and The Vengeance,” but I was much more concerned about describing their fashion choices than advancing the plot. I also contributed to a comedy serial, called “Suds,” co-written by two of my middle school classmates, Betsy and Angela. I don’t remember exactly what it was about, but we would each take turns writing chapters in it — in cursive, on wide-ruled notebook paper.
There’s a piece of me that dreamily aspires to write a novel someday, but fiction is not really my bag. I'm more inclined toward essays or historical fiction.
Thanks to my mom’s side of the family, I have roots in the deep South, so I would love to delve into some of the stories of my relatives, particularly the women, many of whom survived hardships I could never fathom. The research would be a huge undertaking, so I may have to win the lottery before I take on a project like that one.
Oh, lest I forget my poetry. I was president of the Poetry Club in high school, and I took an advanced poetry writing class in college. I still jot down the odd poem or two from time to time, when the mood strikes. Nothing I write in that genre will ever win a Pulitzer, but I feel pretty confident in saying that it does not totally suck.
Even if the only thing I publish for the rest of my lifetime is this little blog and myriad ghostwritten pieces for clients, I would be satisfied with a writer’s life well lived. In my blog, I get to say what I want to say, and at least a few people take some enjoyment from my words. For my clients, I get my bliss from crafting their stories in innovative ways. I would like to think that, if not for me, those stories might not get told otherwise.
Oh, I'm pleased to announce that I will be among a group of talented writers presenting at the Women Who Write "Exploring the Writer's Craft" conference on July 12. My talk will be on "Blogging with Purpose." I haven't outlined the entire presentation yet, but my goal is to share practical tips I've learned as a blogger, and not put anyone to sleep in the process.
As a professional writer myself, you can imagine how thrilled I was when my son, Ethan, recently expressed interest in becoming one, too. He says he wants to write the kind of stories that he would like to read. How friggin’ awesome is that??
Anyhoo, I am a simple girl, with simple desires. When it comes down to it, I just want to be happy, and writing — for any reason at all — makes me ridiculously happy.
So, yeah. Write certainly is might, indeed.
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After nine years, she's still just saying.