The first time i've written for a long time | Teen Ink

The first time i've written for a long time

November 1, 2008
By Rachell Li SILVER, Sydney, Other
Rachell Li SILVER, Sydney, Other
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

As soon as you write something down, it is yours forever. And, if you wanted to, you could show someone else, so they could keep it too. But really, it is yours forever. If anyone ever wants to take it away from you, all you need to do is remember and to remind them that, it is yours forever.

When I was younger, around ten, when I still believed that there was a chance of doing what I wanted whenever I wanted for an entire lifetime, I wanted to be an author. It seemed liberating in a strange way, like somehow one person could tell another a wonderful story that was inspiring, humorous and sorrow stricken but not know. How could you affect someone that much and not know?

So, I wrote my own stories. They were short and they were terrible. I never showed them to anyone because I was not proud of them. I thought they were terrible. But, I loved writing them all the same. I didn’t know too many words and the ones that I did know were spelt incorrectly. I was and will always be a terrible speller. So I wrote my short fault ridden books and told no one. All I told them was that I wanted to be an author. The only story I ever wrote and shared was about a dog I did not know, did not care about and did not invent. His name was Fly and I thought he was good enough because I had seen him on TV. I didn’t even change his name.

Six years later and I share my stories. They are ones about boys with eating disorders, girls who follow strangers and kids that know more than their parents. Excuse me, but I have a mould to break. Sometimes my teacher says, ‘Rachell, this is really not what we are looking for, are you sure you understood the question?’ I shake my head but I actually did. So she smiles and is willing give me another chance. I take that chance but I hand in a piece of paper next time. There is nothing of me on it.

Oscar Wilde is my favourite writer and I have all his books, all his poems and all his plays. I haven’t read all of them and I think I really need to. But I still don’t, because I am scared I will not like him as much after. I have read ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ though. I made it out to be better than it actually was because I saw a review in the paper and it got four stars. However, there is one thing I remember about that story, and it is when the painter, Basil felt that he could not sell his painting, nor could he let it hang in a gallery, because he felt that he had simply put too much of himself in it.

It wasn’t self-consciousness. If that were the problem, he would not paint as well as he does. Painters are brave because they know that anyone can paint and yet they do it. This is how I see writers. Anyone can write. They impress no one, maybe except themselves. Yet they do it. As a ten year old, I did not feel the need to impress anyone, so I wrote for myself. I could not show anyone my stories because I knew that they were small pieces of me. The stories were about boys named Jack who played football and sheep who lost their mothers. My name is not Jack, I have never enjoyed playing or watching football and I am certainly not a sheep. Yet, they were me.

Rejection wasn’t an issue. I was too young to know that people are always polite and too old to think that I was always right. I was reluctant to share because I only had so much in me, I couldn’t afford to lose it to anyone, not even my mother or father, or anyone who would not understand.

Now I write for numbers. Hopefully numbers that will ensure an A. If the numbers are not as high as I would like them to be, which they often are, my spirit does not suffer, I am just disappointed. I do not feel sick because of the pointlessness of the exercise. I am sick because I am failing English.

Of course I do not want to fail so I write as many words as they ask me and I hand them in with no problems. In the very beginning I had some reservations, but now it comes easily, naturally, on a weekly basis. On the piece of paper is not something I wrote with my hands, it is constructed with a ticking machine, by a machine.

For school I wrote a story about how I felt and my teacher gave a worksheet on structure. She said that structure was important and that there needs to be certain sequences, descriptions and lots of showing-not-telling. I knew all of this because I listen in class so I will not fail English. But I was weary. I never thought life had anything to do with a set sequence, I never felt the need to tell someone about the sunsets and the dirt roads because I thought that surely they knew. Had they not opened their eyes on a new morning and had they never walked a trodden path? I had no intention of showing them anything because they would never understand, understand that I have something to say and they are going to ignore it. I had no faith in anyone else and I am tired and selfish.

In short, I was a terrible writer. But, I wrote for myself. The stories were real and the words were me. It amazed me whenever I looked down the page and I understood what they meant and I hoped so dearly that others would too. But, I learnt that they did not want to understand, they wanted requirements met and a showcase of several different sentence structures. They wanted flair and sophistication. I just wanted people to understand that I am tired, but I am true.

Someone I admire went through art school and said that he had lost all desire to create any art. When I write a story, I do it because I am instructed and because I am not all that bad after all if I just follow orders. This year, I wrote a story about a ‘making choices’ and I was sure to include a character description, vivid imagery and to use words that not even I understood. I got an A and the teacher was glad I was making an effort.

I write because I have to and no more. This scares me. My own words are no longer part of me. We do not talk. We never fight. And I feel we understand each other less and less. They are not mine; they are my English teacher’s.

But I am old enough to know that I do not want to abandon this because it would mean abandoning not just a little sliver, but a whole slice of myself. I cannot afford to lose so much after everything else because there will be nothing left and one day I will wake up and feel as if I am only doing things because I have to. I will never be uncomfortable, because no one will ever see me and I am just another girl who succeeds but without a mind and without any intention otherwise. I never wanted that.

Oh. By the way, today it rained and the soft, soothing drops of sky are once again beginning to fall. I know this because though my heavy velvet curtains are drawn, I can hear the familiar echoes of water sliding down the foggy windowpane in no particular hurry. I cannot see them, but I can imagine the trails that the leave, like the trails of the buzzing insects in the trees. If I stop long enough and breathe in slowly, I can sense the rich aroma of the worms doing their job and turning earth. I have always had a keen sense of hearing and smell. My hair is an unforgiving melancholy brown.

The author's comments:
I really do love my English teachers, i do. I just wish i understood that school and life are different. But don't worry, she has told me that now. She told everyone.

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This article has 360 comments.

Marj said...
on Jul. 3 2010 at 2:55 pm

Hey Rachell,

Wonderful article. This really captures the sweet pleasure of writing from one's heart and soul, and I completely agree with everything you wrote here. I only wish more people could realize just how special this type of writing is, and you are helping make that happen. Thanks, Marj :]]

on Jul. 3 2010 at 4:46 am
LivingInABasket BRONZE, Birmingham, Other
2 articles 0 photos 10 comments

This really speaks to everyone (as I am sure you have noticed, what with the many comments recieved).

Eurgh. I feel the same way in English. Especially when I make the mistake of putting myself into a story or an essay - sure, I'm not following the learning objectives to the full stop but my writing is personal. It feels good just to do it. Then I'm marked down for it because it's not quite right.

Loved the humour at the end. It was a good way to finish. You are talented.

Galatea BRONZE said...
on Jul. 2 2010 at 9:53 pm
Galatea BRONZE, Falls Church, Virginia
1 article 2 photos 4 comments
I am very impressed. If there was ever a time that your writing was bad, that time has passed. I liked how simply you wrote, and how many people can relate, such as myself. It is very comforting. Great Job.

Pillow BRONZE said...
on Jul. 2 2010 at 9:30 pm
Pillow BRONZE, Spokane, Washington
1 article 5 photos 300 comments

Favorite Quote:
Nothing says oops like a wall of flame.

This was amazing!

It is so true too. Thank you for putting so elegantly on paper what I know is inside of me and so many others.

on Jul. 2 2010 at 8:48 pm
MumblingMelanie DIAMOND, Jackson, Missouri
79 articles 0 photos 210 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don't be a victim; be a titan.

You made me cry! :)

But in a good way, don't worry; because I could completely relate to this article.

And I absolutely love Oscar Wilde, too. He's wonderful, like your article.

julia_elg said...
on Jul. 2 2010 at 8:31 pm
julia_elg, Valley Village, California
0 articles 0 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
"And of course there must be something wrong / In wanting to silence any song." - Robert Frost, "A Minor Bird"

I'm really impressed with your writing...I have to admit that even though "show don't tell" sounds silly, your last paragraph was the most powerful to e *because* you showed us howsilly flowerylanguage can be, rather than telling us. I don't totally agre that you have to not be yourself in English class to get an A. I generally put myself into my work and still get an A. I do know what you mean about essays being way too structured, though. Based on this, I'm not surprisedOscar Wilde is your favorite author - I like him, too, and some of the things you mention are subjects hedealt with all the time. society versus self, beauty versus mstructure, and all that. Great job!

on Jul. 2 2010 at 8:13 pm
JacintaT BRONZE, Brisbane, Other
4 articles 0 photos 33 comments

You started off saying that when you write something, that it is yours forever, and I have always thought that as well. I completely agree with you. Yet, then you went on to say that your stories were horrible. The story is yours, and you don't write something you don't like. You just think they would be horrible to other people. This article was slightly confusing, but at the same time I found myself nodding with agreement the whole way through. Although your thoughts seemed to be all over the place throughout this, you definitely got your point across.

By the way, I absolutely loved the last paragraph. 

on Jul. 2 2010 at 11:42 am
writerinfinity PLATINUM, Arlington, Texas
35 articles 0 photos 105 comments

wow, your completely right, when we right shcool papers they aren't really ourselves, they are the teachers. We should write because that's what we want, not because others should be please by it.

  Very good job and point. :))

on Jul. 2 2010 at 11:19 am
KirbyDoodle BRONZE, Ballwin, Missouri
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments
I just want to say, I know what you mean.... I know what you mean.

on Jun. 29 2010 at 8:49 pm
dancewritedream SILVER, S. Dartmouth, Massachusetts
5 articles 0 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting."

So, so, so thought-provoking! My writer friends and I have often expressed the same frustrations in our own English classes.  Very true and very real and very, very well-written. Just remember, the only critic who truely matters is you.

MoonGem BRONZE said...
on Jun. 29 2010 at 8:13 pm
MoonGem BRONZE, UB, Other
3 articles 0 photos 25 comments

Favorite Quote:
Live for God, Laugh for God, Love for God. Soli deo Gloria.

Your very weird, dude. You want to have a conversation with a girl you have never met, a girl you have never seen, a girl who you don't know.................................................

plus you called her dude. :(

MoonGem BRONZE said...
on Jun. 29 2010 at 8:10 pm
MoonGem BRONZE, UB, Other
3 articles 0 photos 25 comments

Favorite Quote:
Live for God, Laugh for God, Love for God. Soli deo Gloria.

You say your a terible writer...look at all these commments! Plus your article is so great-your very good!

on Jun. 27 2010 at 4:15 pm
momentofweakness BRONZE, Ottawa, Other
3 articles 0 photos 8 comments
when i read this, i think of how the rain smells in the spring and leaves falling off autumn trees. it is beautiful in a way i never thought writing could be.

on Jun. 24 2010 at 3:41 pm
AelitaReloaded PLATINUM, Scottsdale, Arizona
22 articles 0 photos 179 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The pen is mightier than the sword" author unknown (to me)

To me it sounds like you may have a low self confidence that is limiting you.  You seem like you are afraid to do your best, and so your teacher gives you suggestions that take your writing away from you.  Don't be afraid to write the way you do!  Everyone has their own unique style.  Also, maybe you could've told your teacher that the peices were intended to be ironic?  She might've understood.  Never stop believing!

on Jun. 14 2010 at 1:13 pm
New.York.Dreamer SILVER, Lapeer, Michigan
8 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"When the road of life gets rough and potholes come abroad, your courage and strength come alive. The giving up may seem the only hope, it never is. The road ahead never stops. You make the choice, never anybody else."


One of the most amazing peices i've ever read. It has really touched me,. Truly, this writing can relate to me in a ton of ways. Simply Amazing. I love it.(:

on Jun. 10 2010 at 5:20 pm
blacknsexy360 SILVER, Glendale, Arizona
9 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:


on Jun. 10 2010 at 2:28 pm
bbycks10 BRONZE, Laurel, Maryland
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments
this is insanely powerful.  i feel as though many of us can relate, but maybe we didn't realize our frustration can be put into words.  the ending also made me smile. =) great, great job!

H. said...
on Jun. 10 2010 at 2:13 pm
I love the way you expressed this. It is for the same reason that I can never do my best work for school; it would mean turning in a piece of myself to be judged and graded, and, to me, that seems wrong.

on Jun. 3 2010 at 12:31 pm
Mary-Fairy01 GOLD, South Portland, Maine
10 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way. ~Emma by Jane Austen

That makes so much sense. But see that makes you the writer and me the English fanatic. I go by the rules becuase I love the rules. I just think my passion of writing took to long and the rules took over. Keep that passion and it will pay off.

19SAS94 said...
on May. 31 2010 at 11:36 pm
Wow! I love it! I never get A's when I don't use flowery language in English, it's fun for fiction, but non-fiction is always better when it's honest! Very inspiring!