Molding Words

By: Shannon Boatwright

One of my incredible, honors drama students was recently accepted into the SC Governor’s School for creative writing. This is not an easy program to get accepted into.  This particular young lady is wise beyond her years and always impresses me with her smarts and her skills. She happens to be a fabulous actress. A natural. I discovered recently that she is a writer and a really good one. I have to admit that I’m sad I did not really discover this talent of hers until the end of her 8th grade year. I too, love to write. I enjoy the challenge of putting words together in such a way that it grabs people’s attention, even hopefully inspires them or makes them think. This brilliant young girl and I share a love for writing, whether writing for ourselves or for others. I love her style, I love her wit. I wish I could share more of her writing here, especially the entry that got her accepted into Governor’s School. But for now, I’d like to share just a little taste with you readers – a bit of a tease if you will. Her name is Melissa Cripe. In the years to come, as she continues to create success for herself, I have a feeling her name will be known. My hope is that she will never stop building on those natural talents of hers and that she will continue to shine and share her artistry!

I am young, I do admit. I don’t have fifty years of experience under my belt, making me see the world in a point of view that makes everything have twelve different meanings, each one worse than the last. I’m not going to spill some philosophy that no one wants to hear. I can’t promise you that you will want to hear this, but I am going to try to make it worth something. Because there are very few truths in the world, and here’s one. Words are just words, no matter how fancy and sophisticated they are. Words can be molded into anything you want, but they don’t have to mean anything. Most of the time they don’t mean anything. That’s what writers are here for. They make words into something that may hold a little bit of weight in society. They make words into something that may mean something to someone. Words are a writer’s paint and paintbrush, music and instrument. A writer isn’t given fancy tools to work with. Nothing to spend a lot of money on and nothing that will improve their writing with its price tag and fancy material. All writers have is words, and dang is that hard. But I am here to bend my words into something that might help simplify this place we call the world. I am only 14, but that means my view of the world is untainted. I say things as I see them, not as I have heard others say they have seen them. So, if my words don’t agree with yours, write something of your own and see where that takes you.

                                                                                                Written By Melissa Cripe

I’ll Be Write Back

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~Norbet Platt

I’ve never called myself a writer, but writing is an important part of who I am. I still have one of the first things I remember writing. It’s a letter to my father, awkwardly lettered, full of misspellings and written on bright yellow notebook paper, circa 1970s. Computers and pencil and paper 2keyboards have long replaced those wonderful Husky pencils and yellow paper, but the magic is still the same. I still love bold pencils, soft erasers and the challenge of blank paper, no matter the color.

In college, I had an epiphany that writing was my way of exploring my feelings, making sense of a crazy world and sorting the personal wheat from the chaff. I enjoyed writing for people I love, like the piece on being an adult at the holiday kid’s table at my grandmother’s house or the college updates I sent my dad when he was hospitalized. I loved firing off impassioned pleas against an injustice, whether it be a letter to the editor pleading the case of an underdog or a complaint letter about a chicken claw found in a chicken noodle soup. (Yes, that really happened!) And I discovered lists, word maps and diagrams, and used them daily to clear my mind and keep me moving forward.

Since college, I’ve written a lot. Press statements for politicians, copy for sales teams and letters for bureaucrats. Non-profit grant applications, government web site copy, newsletter articles galore. Emails, texts, social media posts and the enigmatic 140-character Tweet. And, of course, I write for the Every Woman Blog and my own, too.

Despite a full portfolio and ever expanding electronic trail, somewhere along the way, I lost my voice. I limited my words to others, and I forgot myself. Don’t get me wrong. I love using words to make a living. But the last few years, months – heck, even the last couple of weeks – I’ve run up against some emotional, complicated and/or otherwise challenging stuff. And for some reason, I haven’t taken pencil to paper.

Starting with this post, I’m going to work hard to rededicate myself to exploring my world through writing. You’ll probably start seeing more personal posts about my wellness journey on the blog, but a lot of what I do, I hope to keep in a special notebook, just for me. More like it used to be. And I’m hoping that, like Norbet Platt says, it just might help me regain my equilibrium.