Every Ordinary Moment

November 25, 2016 § 7 Comments


zz price.jpgBy Calihan Price:

“What are you studying?”

“English!  With a concentration in Creative Nonfiction.”

“Oh.  So you want to teach English then?”

“No.  I want to write.”

*

After this exchange, I spend the next five minutes trying to justify my major to someone who probably doesn’t care in the first place.  But why?  Why do I, as a writer, feel so compelled to prove my passion to be something worthwhile?

Do nursing majors have to explain why they chose to go to nursing school?  No.  Do education majors have to defend reasons for wanting to teach?  Nope.  Do Veterinary Science majors have to validate their decision to save animals?  Absolutely not.

I shouldn’t have to, either. Instead, I want to tell people what a privilege it is to turn my own personal experiences into a universal piece of literature that other people can connect with on an intimate level.

I want to tell them about the four-cheese penne pasta I had for dinner and how it was dripping with fresh tomato sauce and that the basil speckled my plate with bursts of forest green that reminded me of the changing leaves that line the streets in Autumn. I want to tell them about the time my best friend broke my heart and how I had to spend an entire year piecing it back together. I want to show them my childhood, narrated by my grandmother’s sweet voice and strung together with pictures of thunderstorms and aging dogs and matching Easter dresses.

Every ordinary moment can be made colorful with words. They have the power to change a rainy day into a gray storm of frustrated clouds and rainbow dusted pavement. They can turn a dying flower into a wilting poppy whose color has since returned to paint the sunset. They transform a hand into an aged piece of art, lined with years of wisdom and scarred from memories long forgotten.

I sometimes find myself thinking in beautiful words. Before I ever realize what I’m doing, sentences of imagery float about my consciousness, stringing themselves together in abstract forms until they find their proper place, aligning with one another to “show and not tell.”

Choosing a possible career path is something to be proud of; it takes some people years to decide what they want to do. It’s important to never feel ashamed or belittled by your ambitions, but instead embrace them and feel confident and respectable when relaying them to someone else.

As someone who is still learning and growing in my abilities as a writer, I hope to carry that confidence with me wherever I go.  No matter the judgments of practicality I may or may not endure, I can always rest assured in knowing that my ordinary moments will be made extraordinary when replayed years later on paper.

__

Calihan Price is a full-time student, part-time nanny, and all-of-the-time dreamer. She grew up in a small town outside of Omaha, NE, and is currently studying creative nonfiction at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

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§ 7 Responses to Every Ordinary Moment

  • […] via Every Ordinary Moment — BREVITY’s Nonfiction Blog […]

  • Jim Ross says:

    People ask these kinds of questions because they wonder (with good reason) how anyone can make a living solely as a writer. To ask such a question is not to suggest the passion for writing isn’t worthwhile, nor is it to shame or belittle a writer. I wonder how other students and writers respond to such inquiries.

    • Allison K Williams says:

      Unfortunately, many people see the arts as a hobby, or as something people want to teach rather than to do – Dani Shapiro, a multiple NYT-bestselling author, addresses the career version of this question in her book Still Writing (and reads from it in the Brevity Podcast’s first episode).

      It’s not that the questioners are actively trying to “shame or belittle” – it’s that they don’t realize their question is often shaming or belittling.

      – Still writing?
      – Yeah, still doing that accounting thing?

      – I’m majoring in Biology
      – Oh, you want to teach high school science?

      – I’m a nurse
      – Oh, have you treated any patients I’ve heard of? Or worked with any famous diseases?

      There’s a presupposition in the arts that we are either famous or no-one, and that almost no-one is famous. While the second half is true, most people are unaware that the vast majority of artists have multi-faceted careers. That we teach a little, sell some of our work, participate in larger works with other artists, etc. And most importantly, that “fame” is not actually a measure of success–it’s often concurrent, but rarely congruent.

      So it does fall on writers to educate our questioners, and to write essays like this one, to give more information to people who see our life’s work as an unnecessary frill, or as a “passion” to pursue with our hearts rather than a legitimate career path.

  • herheadache says:

    Reblogged this on Her Headache and commented:
    Questions and answers.

  • Good luck with your journey into writing, and finishing school! I guess the reason people aren’t so encouraging about a career in writing is that it’s so tough to make money from it.

  • […] via Every Ordinary Moment — BREVITY’s Nonfiction Blog […]

  • Writing is important for so many reasons. I find healing and my voice in writing. I can think out exactly what I want to say so poignantly, which I don’t do half as well when I talk. I completely understand wanting to say things and not having the chance. Keep writing and you will prove to yourself and others why you are a writer in a way you can’t explain in passing! Your written words will do it for you. Thank you for your honesty and reflections!

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