Please welcome Elena Soninno, a freelance writer, National Board Certified teacher, runner,(aspiring) triathlete, and chaser of dreams. She lives with her seven (going on 17) year-old daughter and former rocket scientist husband in Northern Virginia. A believer in living life one moment at a time, Elena documents her travels through life at CiaoMom.com, as a contributor to TravelingMom.com, and is the founder of JustBeEnough.com where the voices of many tell a story of celebrating our strengths. Promoting the need to build self sufficiency in others, she is a member of Bloggers4Haiti and is on the American Cancer’s Society Blogger Advisory Council working towards More Birthdays. You can find Elena on Twitter & on Facebook laughing, venting, promoting, and sharing.
In second grade, my teacher told my parents that I was too creative as a writer. I don’t recall what my stories were about, but I remember loving to write. She however, apparently did not appreciate my love of the written word. Luckily, I was able to (mostly) ignore that voice and continue writing. In fifth-grade I wrote atravel essay about Egypt that was published in our local newspaper. My first “published” book in seventh grade–Janet’s Glasses– still sits on my bookcase. A junior high series based on my friends, a la Sweet Valley High.
Later I took to writing letters to myself in a diary. I imagine my great grandchildren going through it one day, on the floor around a box of old journals, learning about my sacred emotions, biggest fears, and largest triumphs.
One day though, that changed. My notion of myself as a writer became more real. Not just a school assignment or a diary entry anymore. This was different.
It was a fall day. I was at home with my daughter who had strep throat (again). She watched television as I sat on the couch with her, my eyes scrolling through Facebook on my laptop. I began to hear voices start to echo in my ears despite the sounds of Dora the Explorer streaming from the television. The voices said I should tell my story of surviving cancer. The story of giving birth to a daughter despite being in early menopause. The story of finding love again and getting remarried.
So I did. In October 2009 I started telling the story. A story that for a long time I was uncomfortable owning. I never wanted to be “that” girl, the one who was sick. I never wanted to be “that” woman, the one who drew looks of pity from her friends. I wanted to be strong and independent. But in that moment, on the couch…I opened Blogger and created a blog.
Fast forward to now. A voices still rings in my ear. This time the voice is telling me that my writing is….blah. It’s not descriptive enough. It doesn’t evoke thinking or prompt people to react (or comment). My use of punctuation is inconsistent. It is not eloquent or polished.
For better or worse, the voice is not wrong. I write in a conversational tone. I use ellipses and parentheses as if I’m sitting next to someone, pausing as I speak. And I talk a lot. I ramble. I use short or incomplete sentences for effect. To highlight. The emotion. I use run on sentences because…well, just because.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve written many a post that led readers in a direction other than I’d intended. Because I digressed. Because I was too sarcastic, or maybe not sarcastic enough.
And yet I still consider myself a writer. Sitting down to write still brings with it a sigh of relief as the words jump from my brain to the screen. I may not be the most poetic or graceful of writers. I may not be the writer that has publishers knocking or editors swooning. But I write. I tell stories. I am brutally honest and maybe even inspirational every now and then. There is quite possibly a book inside my brain or a magazine column about living life, one moment at a time that would love to see the light of day.
For now the unpolished, rambling, choppy sentence writer in me will keep doing what I know.
I will tell the story.
I will use my voice.
I will be me.