The burning flame of creativity

Published 8:54 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2016

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always said I wanted to be a writer. Of course, now I do get paid to write, which is the goal for most of us sporting an English degree.

If you were to ask what my career goals were, and I am feeling fairly confident, I’d probably answer — somewhere between matter-of-factly and tongue in cheek — “Well, I’m going to write a best-selling novel.” Unfortunately that kind of gig is harder to come by.

In fact, I would argue fiction writing, along with most creative passions, gets harder the further you get from college.

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In college, not only was I surrounded by people who shared similarly lofty goals, but everything I did and learned helped push me to that goal. Writers are all thinkers and observers, so even classes like comparative government helped to spark a long string of what ifs that end in an idea for a story.

And then of course reading such greats as Charlotte Bronte’s “Villete” or Walker Percy’s “Lancelot” served as inspiration, showing what great writing can accomplish and what styles I can emulate.

And then I graduated and life happened. When a professor isn’t dictating your reading list, it’s much easier to grab another Gillian Flynn novel than read that copy of “Les Miserables” that’s only been taken from the bookshelf when I’ve moved. That’s certainly not a diss. on Gillian Flynn. She’s currently my favorite mainstream writer.

Because of this background, some of my favorite stories to cover for the paper are artistic ones.

Last week, I wrote about Mississippi School of the Arts. It holds all the academic qualities that I miss about college. To be totally submerged in your craft — that is the life. Covering the art show for this week’s cover demonstrates the creative aspirations are a life-long pursuit.

When we first started talking about me working from home and cutting back to part time, I had visions of using the extra hours for catching up on writing and reading. If you’ve ever taken care of a newborn, you know just how laughable that is. If I get a moment to myself, it’s usually spent jumping in the shower or folding the laundry.

May be writing these types of stories aren’t the kick in the pants for my creative work that they used to be, but hopefully its enough to keep the flame lit during these newborn days.

Julia Miller is the lifestyles editor of The Daily Leader.