Passion For Writing

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Quote-from-Seth-Godin

Rosa Kwon Easton & Writing GroupI am part of a writing group and we are writing this week about passion.  My writing group is an eclectic group of women (and an occasional brave man) who come together to write about universal life themes and share them with each other.  The themes include the road not taken, family and self, work and money, love and loss, and lots of topics in between. Through this process, we have learned a lot about each other, but mostly about ourselves.

I learned that I hide behind my words when I know I have to read my story out loud.  But because I feel safe in front of these writer friends, I begin to reveal a little more, even when I don’t really want to.  Now, I am writing this blog and revising my book to be more authentic.  I am finding my voice.photo 2

Writing was not an obvious passion for me until recently.  When I really thought about it, I realized the writing process has always been a big part of my life.   I was seven years old when we first came to the U.S. from Korea in 1971, and I went from speaking and writing one language, to a whole new language overnight.  The language and culture at home were completely different from my public, outside world of school and the playground.

Early Obsessions

My childhood library in Torrance, CA

My childhood library – Henderson Library in Torrance

I learned to process cultural differences through words.  I swallowed whole shelves of books in the public library so I could taste my new surroundings and absorb its nuances and expectations.  I copied text directly from books into my notebook, hoping that the mere act of copying English words would transform me into an American.  It was futile, though, since my family didn’t look and function like the homes depicted in my favorite Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books.  But I read books like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and other coming of age books, and I dared to dream.

I created my own world through my journals.  By writing down my thoughts and feelings, I was able to make sense of my experiences growing up as an Asian minority.  Looking back at some of those journals now, I realize they were filled with the doodles of a typical teenager:  my first crush,  best friends and enemies, my weird family.  They were also filled with self-doubt, hope, and hunger to belong.  How do I fit in?  What will I need to do to be successful here?  Why are we here in America?  What made my parents decide to come here?  Writing in my journal was a journey of trying to understand myself better.

When I went to college, I took my first writing class.  I had fulfilled all of the requirements for my major in government and was planning to go to law school.  Being an attorney seemed like a fitting career for someone who was good at writing, and I didn’t know what else to do with my life that would be marketable.  I took this college writing class for fun, but it was one of my favorite classes because I could express myself.

One piece I clearly remember writing about was called “The Den Mother.”  I was the Head Resident, or resident advisor, of my college dormitory.  I wrote about counseling young women who had left home for the first time and were coping with a new environment.  One freshman was so depressed that she swallowed a handful of pills and I had to call the infirmary to treat her.  By writing about that incident, I was able to understand better what that young woman must have been going through, and recognized that we all have insecurities in new settings.  Writing was therapeutic, but I didn’t have time to pursue it further when I went to law school.  After entering the legal world, writing became purely analytical writing, and I had to put creative writing aside.

Tasting Life Twice

It wasn’t until I had my own children, and started talking to my grandmothers and learning about their incredible stories, that I wanted to write again.  I remembered the power of books I read as a child to Writers savor life twicetransform me and allow me to dream.  I wanted my grandmothers’ journeys to be written down so my children and others could learn from them.  What I didn’t realize as I started writing their stories, was that I actually enjoyed writing, and that the process was healing.  I had forgotten about my earlier attempts at writing in my journal and my college writing class.

I don’t want to write what someone else tells me to write about anymore.  I want to write creatively for myself and for others who might be experiencing similar things.  There will be days when I may want to give up, or doubt my abilities, but I will make writing a priority.  Actually, I read recently that the writing process makes you happier.  I want to write because it makes me feel joyful to be alive.  As Anais Nin said, “I write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

What is your passion?

Has it brought you joy?  Please feel free to share your passion here, as I did with my writing class.

SETH GODIN is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books LinchpinTribesThe Dip and Purple Cow.

2018-10-09T07:53:02+00:00By |The Process, Uncategorized|8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Anita April 15, 2015 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    Well, this is just fantastic, Rosa! I know we haven’t met (yet) but…you did it! I’m so proud of you. A great start too – beautifully honest, introspective and well-written essay. Looking forward to reading more. Congrats on your launch.

    • Rosa Easton April 16, 2015 at 11:10 pm - Reply

      It’s so nice to meet you too (hopefully in person soon)! I love reading your blogs and you inspired me to get started. Thank you for your kind words. It really means a lot!!

  2. Leslie April 16, 2015 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    Loved your blog entry! I like your writing — you are indeed a strong writer! And consider yourself blessed that you HAVE a passion! I think the only one I have is for eating…

    You go, girl!

    xoxo,
    Leslie

    • Rosa Easton April 16, 2015 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      Eating is a great passion! Thanks for sharing and for coming along with me on this ride. I appreciate it so much!

  3. Shenne April 17, 2015 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    Great insights about the writing process, Rosa. I love the Anais Nin quote, and how it informs your writing. It’s so wonderful to hear more Korean-American women’s voices in the blogosphere. I look forward to reading more of your work!

    • Rosa April 17, 2015 at 6:37 pm - Reply

      Shenne I am encouraged by your comment about hearing more Korean American women’s voices. I feel I am bumbling along at times but your insight gives me more motivation to continue. Thank you!

  4. Monica April 17, 2015 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Congrats Rosa! You are an amazing writer and I can see why you are interested in writing a book. I’m going to forward your blog Ito my sister-in-law as she is interested in writing/researching about her family’s past as well. Kudos to you!!

    • Rosa April 17, 2015 at 6:30 pm - Reply

      Thank you Monica! It’s great to hear from readers who are interested in my book. And good luck to your sister in law. If her last name is Kwon, we might be related….

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