This short bicycle story was written by eight year old me; for a writing assignment asking me to pull my spelling words together. I loved that assignment. It was the one that I looked forward to every week, after the mindless six times each and copying sentences and the spelling test. This was the work I came to school to do. It was the good stuff.
Creative children get lumped into categories- good at art, music, an instrument, writing. If you were lucky enough to get placed into a category, maybe you’d earn accolades from your teacher or the school principal. They’d put your work up in the hallway and adults would admire it.
My work was never up in the hallway. Maybe it was but if so it was within the context of my entire class’s work. It shouldn’t have mattered to me, but it did. It sent me a message that my brand of creativity wasn’t “good enough.” It didn’t matter that that was my favorite activity of the week. It didn’t matter that I was struggling with undiagnosed ADHD, bipolar 2, and a significant hearing loss. I walked close enough to the line of “typical” that it was expected that I fly past any yet-unknown challenges and become a cubicle-sitting, money-making drone.
Those realizations would take a while, and perhaps that’s just the way it was supposed to be. Those were the lessons that changed me and healed me, and set my life on its proper course- toward becoming- at long last-
When I’m ready to write, I hear music play in my head. It’s not a specific song, but a dancing melody that changes every time. Once I hear the first line, that’s my cue to grab a pen and paper. I never know where the words are going, and I’ve learned not only to live with that, but to love it. I get on my bike, so to speak, and I start riding into the darkness. The rest of it writes itself, and before I know it, daylight has come and a document has appeared before me. It ends when it ends, and I have as little control over this as I do with the rest of the process.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go hang this on the wall in my hallway.