November 25, 2016 § 7 Comments
By 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.