I create because I have to. If I don't, I become grumpy, depressed, and generally, unpleasant. I am the happiest, truest Caroline when I have the opportunity (and I take it) to paint, make jewelry, write in my blog, make books with Maylin...make anything, visible and permanent. I get joy out of cooking, but the fruits of your labor disappear with the last mouthful. For me, cooking is not half as satisfying as writing.
I love seeing my creations afterwards. The process of creation is still the best part, but the actual thing that you make is evidence of your existence. I think that at least at one point in my life, probably during high school, I worried about leaving the planet without having contributed anything worthwhile. What will people remember me for?
I wrote some pretty cool term papers then, and did a very original two-part senior project. I don't remember what other people did, but I wrote a dramatic monologue, recorded it, and then accompanied the recording on guitar with some melancholy arpeggios in front of an audience. I also wrote a piece for piano and voice which I performed. That was a great time for me.
My teen years were especially creative when I was still living in Los Banos with my parents. In my computer programming class, I would finish my assignment early and write these random, wacky short stories (which were saved onto 5 1/4" floppy disks -- now lost). I was really into being random, because that was the only way I could ensure complete originality. I was also really into being original -- but I was always like that.
My freshman year, I found myself a winner of several prizes in the county writing festival. I won a first prize for my short story, a first prize for a poem, a second prize for a humorous poem, and the sweepstakes prize for winning the most out of anyone. The best deal of it all was getting my work published in the festival book.
[Happy 2006 everybody! At this very moment, we have gone into the new year. My soundtrack is the screaming of the drunks and the small-scale fireworks outside, and the tunes of Macarena and YMCA in the party apartment above.]
At the age of 9 or 10 in Minnesota, I won an honorable mention in a local writing contest. We were to write an essay entitled something like, "Life in America in the Year 2000." I wrote something entertaining about pizza and aliens which somehow earned me the chance to read my winning essay on the radio. It was so exciting. It was great to miss a morning of school and be the envy of all my classmates!
I remember writing since the age of 5. I wrote my first short story at home. It was "The Girl, the Ghost, and the Hospital" if I recall correctly. I remember asking my mom how to spell "hospital" and "helicopter."
It's good to be writing again after a dryspell since the end of freshman year in college. College was good at squeezing the last bit of creative juice from me. I was using all my energy to memorize equations, figure out chemical reactions, write dry, analytical papers. And college was where the criticizing voices in my head were born. They were usually saying, "that's not good enough," which made me either not start or never finish any creative projects. I somehow managed to write two songs for voice and piano, but only the music -- none of my own lyrics.
Okay, I'm going to bed now, really. I thought I was going to bed two hours ago, but look at me. This morning, I felt like I had enough to write for an entire day, and I did. I just ran out of time.