Monday, June 27, 2011

An old art...a new journey

I just started a new job at the Center For the Arts in Jackson Hole...exactly one week ago today. Approximately two days in, a co-worker and I are talking, and I mention that I like to write. Which...let's a gross understatement. The truth would be closer to..I write. Not like, not love. It's what I do. Sure, I work a reception desk and do social media. But writing is not a hobby. It's who you are. You either are a writer, or you aren't. Simply stated.

I have been writing since I could spell my name. When I was a child, I was, OBSESSED~ with writing horror stories. I still have a lot of them. I take them out and read them sometimes when I am in the need for amusement. I sometimes think about getting those old stories out, refurbishing them...with a new twist...and finishing them off.

As I got older, I tended to write more dramatic pieces. Girl wants boy. Boy wants girl. For some reason, this doesn't work...blah blah blah...and somehow it all works out in the end.

When I was in high school, I wrote for the Jacksonville Daily News on their "by teens, for teens" section of the Sunday paper entitled, "Listen Up!" I was published quite a few times. I recently found out that my articles were archived on their website. So...for those that are interested..or just plain can go to, search up "Sara Parsons" and there some of the stories are. I really think that's neat. Although, side note, there is an article where there is a math calculation...a very simple one...and the answer is wrong. I would just like to say that something happened in the editing, or printing, and this was not a mistake on my own. I am actually very good at math, and that error has bothered me for 10 years now.

Moving forward. When I reached college, my first semester I had a really amazing English professor. She required a very unusual but awesome text for the class. In that class I got my first taste of David Sedaris. Every since then he has been my absolute favorite author, and my inspiration. That semester we were asked to write something in the style of a work we had read that semester. So I chose David Sedaris and wrote a little piece called, "Alcohol and Disney." My professor was very pleased with my work, and I received a truly fine grade on it. Two months ago, I was able to finally see and meet David Sedaris in Salt Lake City, UT. I brought that piece with me and gave it to him, telling him the story. He could have thrown in straight in the garbage. But just to be able to give him the work that he inspired...made my day. Screw that, made my year.

For a little while I started something online called "Everyone writes the Story", but I could never keep it up with how crazy my life was at the time.

The past few years I have not been able to write much. Well, that's BS. I haven't been writing much. I don't know why, a 3 year writer's block? I would get the sudden inspiration to write, do it for a little while...get stuck...stop...or life would get too stressful...stop... I write in my head all the time. The actual act of putting it on paper has been a little more difficult for me.

I took a creative writing class online last spring (which because of unforeseen medical reasons am retaking again this summer) and in every online class the professors ask you to write a little personal intro, personalizing it and making it uniquely you. This professor asked us two questions in particular that I found much interest in. What are any stereotypes of writers you have? Most responses were to the effect of, "I think writers are so talented...creative...bold..." etc catch my drift. My answer? "I believe writers are attention seeking, over-dramatic, egotistical sociopaths with slight schizophrenic tendencies." So as you can tell, I don't always follow the crowd.

The second question? Why do you write? My answer..." Because I am a attention seeking, over-dramatic, egotistical sociopath with slight schizophrenic tendencies."

And to prove that...I'm going to go right back to the beginning of this post. Perhaps I should have added in the beginning that my co-worker is Tim Sandlin, who has published eight novels, numerous columns, and two screenplays that were made into movies. Tim is also the executive director for the Jackson Hole Writers Conference. I should mention, that I knew nothing about this the entire time. So I told him I liked to write, and his response? "Feel free to poke your head in on any of the events this weekend and the writers conference." So I did.

What did I think? I was truly blown away. The one speech I was able to sit in on fully was Chuck Sambuchino's "How to Get Published". It was a great speech, I learned more in 45 minutes than I have in a lifetime of writing. In 45 minutes, I decided I would attend next year's conference...hopefully with a manuscript in hand.

As the weekend went on, I became more infatuated with the conference. These big names, these published writers, editors, and agents were so down to earth and so friendly. I would be talking to someone one hour, then an hour later I realized they have published a half dozen books or similar. It was so refreshing to see professional writers help out the "beginning" writers, without prejudice or hesitation.

So why did I create this blog? Being surrounded by writers for an entire weekend brought my need to write to the forefront. I suddenly HAD to write again. And keep writing. This past weekend gave me the needed push to write again, or as Chuck Sambuchino said..."put down the remote"

I have no idea where this blog will go, what I will write, if I will have a manuscript by next year's conference. But I will keep this blog of my journey...the ups, downs...f*ing writer's blocks...etc. So here's a hook....if you want to know whether or not I, Sara Campbell, will submit a manuscript for next year's'll just have to read my blog.