Friday, August 18, 2017

My Earliest Writing

Happy Poetry Friday! Today I share a poem I wrote when I was fourteen or fifteen. You'll also find a link to this week's Poetry Friday roundup at the end of this post.

Thanks to Esther, our current TeachingAuthors topic is "what we wrote when we were young." I enjoyed reading my fellow TAs posts so far and watching the book trailer Esther shared for Our Story Begins: Your Favorite Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids (Atheneum).

I've loved to read for as long as I can remember, but my interest in writing didn't begin until I was in sixth or seventh grade. That's when I started keeping a journal and writing poetry. Unfortunately, I saved only a few of those journal entries. In looking through them for this post, I discovered something I'd forgotten. My freshman year in high school, I did a reverse variation of Bobbi's practice of writing out her favorite books in longhand: I took my own hand-written journal entries and typed them out on my manual Smith-Corona typewriter. As I recall, I didn't have room in my schedule to take a typing class so I taught myself to type with the help of a library book, and I used my journal entries for typing practice. I suspect I didn't simply type those entries--I edited them too, and threw away the originals!

I do still have some of my handwritten poems, though, including my first published work. My seven-line poem "My Sanctuary" was included in Crystals in the Dark: An Anthology of Creative Writing from the Chicago Public Schools. I've shared the poem here before, but I've copied it again for those who may not have seen it:

                                 My Sanctuary
If I could find a place far away from the world and its sounds,
Distant from the din and clatter of civilization;

Far away from pollution, politics, and people,
Away from worry, death, sorrow, and pain;
The only place that I could think of where I would be
       undisturbed, tranquil, and at peace,
                                                             is within myself.

© Carmela A Martino. All Rights Reserved.

The thrill of seeing my writing--and my name!--in print inspired me to dream of being a professional writer. While still in high school, I had a few more poems published, and even an essay in a local newspaper. My senior year, I took a creative writing class and wrote my first short story.

When I got to college, though, I decided to major in something practical, something I knew would lead to a good job: Math and Computer Science. I did take a series of literature courses for fun, but I pretty much quit writing. I didn't return to it until many years later. If you want to read about that journey, see this post.

And for more about the authors featured in Our Story Begins: Your Favorite Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids see this article in Entertainment Weekly.

When you're done, don't forget to check out this week's Poetry Friday roundup at A Journey Through the Pages.

Remember to Write with JOY!


Bobbi Miller said...

What a lovely, lovely poem, My Sanctuary!

(I had to snicker at the thought of a Smith-Corona typewriter! I remember those!)

Lovely, lovely!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Bobbi. Yes, I feel like I grew up in the Dark Ages--the keys of that Smith-Corona sometimes stuck to each other when I typed too fast! :-)

Molly Hogan said...

I love your poem "My Sanctuary" and can imagine the thrill you had, seeing your name and poem in print. I will definitely check out your journey back to writing and the Entertainment Weekly link when I have more time.

Carol Varsalona said...

The poem "My Sanctuary" is a guide for people who want to find peace within. I like this one that started you on the road to writing.

Kay said...

Lovely poem. I enjoyed hearing your story of beginning writing, too. I'm glad your journey led you back to it.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Such a wonderful peek into your literary beginnings, Carmela - and yay for typewriters, too! Deep insight for a teenager. Thanks for sharing!

jan godown annino said...

And from such an early age, the thought of sanctuary & to be published on a deep topic.
Such a nourishing project, to check back into teen years' scribblings & share.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Molly. It was indeed a thrill.
Carol, glad you enjoyed the poem.
Thanks, Kay. I'm glad my journey brought me back to writing, too.
~ Hi, Robyn! I think the poem is pretty strong evidence that I've always been an introvert.
Thanks, Jan!

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

I can relate to your journey. I also took the practical, self-supporting view of my future, and I gave up poetry for years and years. I'm sad about that now. I was lucky that a friend gave me a journal, and I copied many of my poems into it from my teen years. I don't use them much, as they are not the optimistic ones I write now.

Carmela Martino said...

It's interesting, isn't it, Brenda, to see how our writing styles and interests change over time. So glad you found your way back to poetry!