What makes a writer, a writer? Jessica O’Dwyer started her journey as a writer a long time ago.
When I was nine years old, I claimed a notebook by signing my name on the cover, Jessi, with a heart dotting the letter “i.” I filled the pages in swooping script, detailing jokes I’d heard and Girl Scout adventures. Fifty-four years later I still keep a journal, and a while back started to read them.
Skimming a few entries overwhelmed me. Yes, there were happy times. But many days, the tone is bleak. Like this observation: “Everybody makes choices and I’ve made mine. Most of them have been mistakes.”
I’d recently published my second book, a novel, and felt drained by the effort. Although it had won awards, sales were discouraging. Doubt began to erode my self-confidence: Why bother? Who cares? Why did I think I was a writer, anyway?
Then out of the blue, a college roommate called. Ellen and I hadn’t spoken since 1980, when we’d won scholarships for a semester in London. She reminded me of our pub runs, dinners of fried cabbage and spaghetti, and the time we hitchhiked to Scotland.