Please welcome Missy Bedell, who blogs at The Literal Mom, where she puts into words things she’s been thinking about over the last decade. She encourages parents to think about parenting and gently reminds us all, through wit, humor and sometimes even tears, that hope is the most important emotion you can carry through life. You may also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
“For all of you would-be writers out there who think you can easily shift your craft to legal writing? Forget it. Law school will suck the creativity right out of you.”
Yes. These words were shared with me in an ampitheatre filled with fellow law students in my first year of law school.
Before that, I’d fashioned myself as just what this professor said – a “would-be writer” who was taking some time at law school to give myself a cushion to land on should the writing “thing” not happen right away.
And I pshawed that professor. I had the confidence of youth on my side. No middle-aged, has-been, wannabe-but-never-made-it-trial-lawyer-turned-professor would cut off my writing dreams.
And then indeed, it happened.
The creativity was sucked away, like a wild animal sucking bone marrow out of the bone. Quickly, swiftly, with no remorse.
Law school builds lawyers. It does not build artists. (Though I’d argue that in hindsight – truly gifted lawyers are indeed artists. Because the best lawyers are the ones able to think outside of the box and come up with novel “first impression” arguments. But I digress.)
I learned the “law school formula,” which is a fast learning curve handed to you in Year 1. If you can’t keep up, they kick you out. It almost happened to me because I couldn’t “get” a contracts class and flunked the final, which of course meant I flunked the course. One test, one grade.
But because of my good grades in the other classes, I eeked into my second year. And eventually made it through to the end. And by then my creative writing skills were indeed gone.
I was still a creative person, but I’d lost the passion for writing a good story.
Maybe I was an amaryllis during my law school, attorney, and eventually early parenting years. Lying dormant during those years, just a bulb, waiting for my time to bloom.
If so, that’s okay. Important things are happening to an amaryllis while it lies dormant.
Important preparations are being made for its time to bloom.
And during those years where my writing hid dormant, important changes were occurring in me too. My ideas were developing. My backbone was strengthening. My desire to bloom was growing.
And here I am.
I don’t say these things anymore:
“Someday I want to be a writer.”
“I’m an aspiring writer.”
“When I get more time, I’ll become a writer.”
Writers don’t just become. They ARE. Whether they’re practicing their craft or not, they are still writers.
And I am one of them. My amaryllis bloom is starting to peek out of the bulb.
The Literal Mom