“Sean, every time I sit down to write, I can’t make the words come…
“Maybe it’s because I’m not any good. I got a C in my journalism class, and I feel like I’ll never be a true writer, but a big failure. What should I do?”
This question was posed to me by a twenty-one-year-old journalism major who I will call Merle.
I call him this for two reasons. Firstly, Merle Haggard is one of my favorite country singers. Secondly, this person’s name is actually Merle.
The thing is, Merle, you have more credentials than I do. I’m not what you’d call a “true writer,” either.
A true writer finds incredible stories, then polishes them into poetry. I don’t do that.
Case in point: Once, I wrote an entire column about eyebrow hair.
This proves that I am not an “author” in the traditional sense. Actually, what I am is a “talker.” Which means I can talk at great length about topics I know absolutely nothing about. Kind of like I’m doing now.
I inherited this natural gabbiness from my mother. My mother could chat with anyone or anything.
Once, when I was a boy my mother lost her prescription eyeglasses in a JCPenney and mistakenly struck up conversation with a cardboard cutout of Brooke Shields advertising tight-fitting jeans.
After Mama’s conversation, she remarked, “That was a nice young lady, maybe you’ll meet a young lady like that one day.”
“I doubt it,” I said. “That was Brooke Shields.”
“Well, Brooke’s mother should’ve never let her leave the house in those tight britches.”
Not only do I feel like a non-writer, Merle, but I am a late bloomer.
Just last night, I was watching a baseball game. The announcer was Jeff Francoeur, a former big league right-fielder who is one of the greats.