by Susan Taylor Block
Writing is something I can hardly stand not to do. I remember the summer when I was ten years old and I kept a stack of notebook paper on my desk those three months because I wanted to fill each page with writing before school started again. The paper sat there white and empty, except for lots of blue lines and that single red one. I couldn’t think of anything to write.
The situation of wanting to write yet having nothing to say lingered until I turned 24. I began writing light verse then and always felt a thrill run through me when I sensed I had completed a poem. Subscriptions to writing magazines followed so that I would have a list of potential markets for my verse. That was 1975, long before home computers or search engines were convenient for the masses.
I submitted verses and sold some of them. Acceptances came by snail mail only. I could hardly wait to see what the mailman left for me. Though news of acceptance often arrives by email now, I still feel the excitement of opening my snailmailbox every day. Selling my first poem was a big highlight in my life.
Some folks in my hometown asked me to write bits of local history, because they thought if I wrote poems, I could write history, too. Little did they know that I avoided every history course possible throughout college, and made my worst grade in a world history class. I jumped into the local history project anyway – and loved it. I experienced the thrill of research hunts, enjoyed reaping the down-home history stories gleaned in interviews, and found the writing of history to be a joyous experience. At last, I had something to write that filled up the tabula rasa.
In time, I published poems in some major and many minor publications; books on local history; and have written, co-written, or edited several biographies. The poems led to two poetry writing fellowships. The books have led to some other assignments like co-writing a local documentary movie, writing web essays, and other things. I wake up every day wondering what good thing might happen next.
I’ve accepted the fact that I am a write-aholic. Blogging, whether posting a retro chapter or offering a few new words, is just one more example of feeding my addiction.