MY GUEST WRITER TODAY IS, ONCE AGAIN, MY DAUGHTER EYRNA, WITH HER ESSAY ON THE SUBJECT “What Writing Means to You”
I grew up surrounded by writers. Not rich writers, but struggling, makes-five-thousand-a-year writers. There were a few wealthy ones, and some good stories, like the time I was at Peter Matthiessen’s house and his wife Maria showed me the perfect miniature replica of The Beagle that Kurt Vonnegut brought over to give to Peter, because Kurt was getting old and deep down he knew that once he was gone, his wife would never let Peter have it. These stories are priceless to some, but not to me. If I could I would sell them for a million dollars; that way I could finally have the lavish lifestyle I deserve.
My mother grew up in a fancy house in Paris with her rich and famous father, James Jones (who was also a writer). The only class my mother excelled in was English. She was not one for the fancy lifestyle, however, and when she grew up, she decided to live the life of a struggling writer, who spends her time helping other struggling writers, out of the goodness of her heart. Not for money. This is one of my biggest grievances, seeing as she married my father who is also a writer. My home is small and money can be tight, especially when the economy fails. When I was younger my mother told me, “You can be whatever you want. Except for an actress. Or a singer. And definitely not a writer.” Of course, at the time I found this just the funniest thing, but my mother was only slightly joking.
To me writing is just the symbol of how my parents decided to “follow their dreams” and I ended up without the newest gadget or gismo, therefore making me less popular with my peers. I know exactly what I want to be when I get older, and it is not a writer. I want to be a Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy. It may not bring in that much more money than being a writer would, but at least I will have my financial situation figured out completely. Also, I don’t think adults care as much about material items as kids do, and since I am not planning on having children any time soon, that does not bother me.
I must say that in my opinion I am not a fantastic writer, like my mother or grandfather; I must not have inherited the writer-gene. I am an awful poet, which is one of my many character flaws. I am not terrible at writing memoir essays, though I generally don’t enjoy it because the only topics I can write about while still being original tend to be depressing and make me burst into tears. I do like writing essays if I am interested in the subject I must write about, especially if it’s a book I really enjoyed. Or when I have to argue my point through a paper, which is enthralling and easy because I enjoy being right.
One of the main problems I have with my writing is that people tend to take my words at face value. I write like I am speaking to the reader (unless it is a specific essay, which calls for an invisible narrator) and I am a very sarcastic person. The problem is that I am unable to stress certain words, or be certain that the person reading my writing will read the words the way they sound in my head.