Sunday, December 7, 2008

Have you ever wondered if there's a writing gene? Me neither, until now. I took my athletic daughter (talk about a random gene!) to her friends at the orthopoedic doctor's office last week because, as it turned out, she chipped or fractured a bone chip or something else really odd by whacking her elbow on a door. This is a kid who flies over hurdles, skied down black diamond slopes her third time on the mountain, dives off the 10 meter springboard and makes it look good, and fences. But put her in real life, and she is, like moi, a klutz.

I danced for years and years but am always walking into walls, tripping, and other not-so-graceful things. Do you know I got chin stitches in the ER next to a skate board dude and a roller blader? I was the only one who didn't have "teen" in their age. How do I break bones or tear ligaments? Let's see...playing Blind Man's Bluff, skipping...the embarrassing list goes on and on.

So I wondered, is there a klutz gene? Did I pass it onto my daughter?

Then my mind went to, is there a writing gene? Does it lurk, waiting for you to ignite it? My grandfather was a fabulous writer. He never wrote professionally, but his comments found their way into the NY Times OpEd pages when he had something fun to say. Both my parents can spin a good quill, as well.

As opposed to the klutz gene, which I'm still not sure you can purposely nurture or deliberately overcome, I think you can both nurture a writing gene, and overcome your lack of one. Unlike things like blue eyes and curly hair, this one comes from work, plain and simple. It's time in your chair, writing. It's time reading - lots of time reading. It's time putting your manuscripts into critique situations, opening your mind, rolling up your sleeves, and delving in again. It's classes. It's inspiration. It's persistance.

So here I go, back to my computer...padded, just to be on the safe side!


Sarah Laurenson said...

I knew we had the math gene in my family. Mom even won an oral math contest when she was in her 40's and had returned to school after 20 some years away. I had no idea where my writing had sprung from until my Dad was dying. Then I found out he wrote OpEd pieces for the paper. He wrote his own eulogy and it was very good. He had the math gene, too, but not the desire for education gene that my mother, brother and I shared. (And we all have blue eyes and dimples, except my brother's eyes change color with the weather or something).

Suzanne Casamento said...

I firmly believe in a writing gene. My grandfather was an amazing writer and creator of games. He not only had the gift of story, he had the "talent of the room."

Meaning, he never went crazy from sitting in the room everyday and writing. He mastered it with grace and diligence.

Maybe the gene didn't necessarily pass on his actual writing talent, but it did provide the ability to admire the "talent of the room" and figure out how to achieve it for myself.