March 23, 2015

Secret Writer by Lynn J Simpson

It started in a little red book with a lock and key latch. I began writing in my after school hide-out of my bedroom with the sound of a bouncing basketball and light chatter from my brothers through my open window.  And writing with a red pen, which is interesting as now I will never write with a red pen-only a fine blue one. All other colours go straight in the garbage, I must admit.

And I filled that little red book with all the angst of a 12 year-old. Filling those pages were trials of acne, math, and the boys who wouldn’t look at me. And by age thirteen I progressed to 8x10 coil bound Hilroy notebooks. And I still use those, with the habit of writing the date in the upper right corner transpired from my elementary school days.

Simultaneously, I started my first teen novel. Inspired by my favourite author then, S. E. Hinton, who published at 16 years old, I began Dani’s story. In neat printing, I wrote diligently those few hours after school and before dinner, filling pages upon pages of loose leaf in a blue binder. And then my brother found out.

I will never forget the day my brother opened the door to my bedroom and saw me writing.  Shortly after, I walked into the garage and dumped every single filled page into the garbage bin. Honestly to this day I am not sure why I did that. Embarrassed maybe, that now he knew my secret that I wanted to be a writer?

A secret because a writer was the scariest profession I could ever imagine being. It was even scarier than falling off heels while on a date with one of those boys who never looked at me. What if I failed my dream of being just like S. E. Hinton?

But even though Dani’s story was lost in a field of garbage somewhere (as this was before recycling days), like dreams, she never died in my mind. And now her story is 40,000 words in a document folder on my desktop along with short stories, essays, and creative non-fiction. Sometimes months, even years have passed where my blue spiral binders lay low in my desk drawers, yet I knew a time would be coming where God was calling me to write my words again.

And my brother, married now to a writer, if he had known then, would most likely have walked behind me and pulled Dani’s story out of that garbage bin. Now I can retrieve any writings easily by re-opening in a locked folder on my desktop. But not those pens other than fine blue. They can stay in the garbage bin.  



  1. Fascinating story! Oh, how embarrassed we are sometimes when we think that our writing might end up in the hands of someone other than ourselves. I know the feeling. After journaling for so many years, I found it difficult sharing my stories with others. Computers are quite the handy tool of 'safe keeping.' Thanks for sharing.

    1. Anonymous8:20 am GMT-7

      Computers are handy for 'safe keeping!' I know I am also learning slowly to put my fear and pride aside, to give instead of 'hoarding' what God might be asking me to share for another's sake. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Lynn, you had me hooked all the way through. I could relate to every description, every emotion. I'm so glad Dani's been resurrected!

  3. Anonymous8:21 am GMT-7

    Thank you Bobbi for your encouraging words!

  4. That kind of embarrassment is commom among writers. Not sure why but I've felt it too. Thanks for sharing

  5. I have felt that embarrassment too. What is it about being a writer that sometimes makes us feel like second-class citizens? Is it something society has fed us? Or is it that voice in our heads that feeds us lies? Either way, I am glad you are NO longer listening. Keep writing for Jesus!

  6. You are probably right that your brother, had he known about your trashing your writing efforts, probably would have been more encouraging than you thought. I find it ironic that he married a writer. You tell a good story, Lynn. "Fear not!" we read in the Bible so often and in so many different situations. "Be strong and of good courage" and "Trust in the Lord," are also things God, through his prophets, often told his people. God's good words apply to our lives and can apply to our writing as well. May God give you courage and bless your writing for his glory.


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