Jack of All Trades | Teen Ink

Jack of All Trades

January 28, 2014
By NovemberPage BRONZE, Royersford, Pennsylvania
NovemberPage BRONZE, Royersford, Pennsylvania
3 articles 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage."

To some, writing is a delicate, precise art. It means sitting at a chair, back straight, typing out every lovely little thought that enters their lovely little brains. After they are finished, the “save” button is clicked. Done! It’s a masterpiece.

I laugh at those people.

To me, writing means jittery nerves from five cups of tea, frustrated screams, procrastination, and waking up in the middle of the night with an idea. It means constant editing, nagging thoughts that something needs to be changed, hopping out of bed at 4 a.m. on a panicked hunt for a Post- it, and reading my work aloud in different voices. It's tiresome at times, but rewarding because writing is a process that can change you.

With one tap of the keys, I turn into Simon Cowell. I drag each word out onto the stage and trot them out under the spotlight. Some are nervous, some are confident. Some are downright strange, but some fit in just right. I throw some out; I yell at some, I put some together. I judge them and nitpick until I have figured out the usefulness of each and concocted the best possible group. Finally, I will embrace some and turn them into the world’s next big thing. Others I turn away and send home crying.

At other times, I become Beethoven, using writing as my instrument and the words as notes in my own 5th Symphony. I begin by organizing the sheet music, tapping them on the stand to make sure they are all in line. I scan the strings of notes punctuated by a flat or sharp-all the possibilities. The keyboard melts into a piano under my hands. I pound the keys until the words sing, until the piece is so beautiful the listener has to sit like a stone statue in order to take it all in. You don’t want to miss a beat, because before you know it, I've thrown in a transition or ended a chapter. Keep up, or the song ends without you.
And then, I’m a cowboy. When the townsfolk are all causing a ruckus, I mosey on down only to discover the herd is stampeding. I have a hankering to be a hero today. Darting to my horse, I swing one booted foot up and over, wrap the reins around my calloused hands, and tap his side. The experience of having done this before doesn't soften the lead in my lungs and the drumming of my heart as the tension and excitement of the task ahead hits me like a donkey kick to the skull. I settle into the rhythm and set my sights on the words. Each breath, each connection of horse and ground, pounds the stress away. I’ll follow the herd of words, chasing after them until I can lasso them together and lead them to do my will. The work is tiresome, but rewarding, as I’ll ride back into town a hero.

At last, I’m falling down the rabbit hole. I’m Alice, staring wide-eyed at a strange new world. There are threats lurking in the shadows, and in order to escape them I must build up an army of logic and reason to combat the Jabberwockys and Red Queens that cross my path. Every direction delivers new characters, new settings, and new ideas. I’m faced with the challenge of choosing the right direction to follow, or else I’ll get lost and fade away as an insignificant memory. Throughout my journey, I see so much balderdash that I begin to become as crazy as the Mad Hatter himself. I’m simultaneously trying to remember if the smoke fumed or spilled from the blue caterpillar’s hookah, making the hard decision of painting the roses blue or red this time, asking the talking flowers what they have to say, and criticizing the March Hare’s and Mad Hatter’s choice of tea, all while looking for the Cheshire Cat’s haunting smile alerting me to the fact that I’m doing well by Wonderland standards. Breathless, I look around to see what more I can accomplish in this visit only to find the White Rabbit tapping his watch, reminding me to be on time. I say my goodbyes as I’m torn away from this world. The laptop lid shuts with a clunk.

When I write, I’m suspended in the moment. Time stops and I slip into the story. For once, I have the power to change things. Even though I’m haunted by headaches in the morning from a crazy night of writing, plagued by nagging voices in my head, and cursed to a lifetime of having to spend thousands of dollars on tea and Post-its, I’m glad I chose the path of being a writer. All of the insanity that shows up behind the scenes in writing is worthwhile because I’m not just a writer when I write. I’m a judge, a musician, a cowboy, and an explorer. I’m a Jack of All Trades, and yet, at the end of the day I'm still just me, trying to write a good piece.

The author's comments:
This is what writing means to me.

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