What’s in a name? In my opinion, a lot. I’m not Latoya, I’m most definitely LaToya. I may not always drive home that point by obnoxiously reminding you that that’s how my name is spelled, but it’s a big part of who I am. I think in many ways the T has defined me. Tenacious. Tender. Tolerant. Like any Type A personality with OCD I’m interested in and have tried a number of things. Writing has long been on that list. It’s a bit like reading or even riding a bike, once you know how, you always can. And like riding a bike, I expect that I’ll be a bit rusty getting back on the literary road. I’m unlike my best friend who famously writes because he can’t control himself. I write when the mood takes me. I’m a bit like most people, when my buttons are pushed or I feel like I should add my two cents, I do. Yes, I have written before. However, with a number of years since the former acclaim of writing for and editing my high school and college newspapers, there seems to be little point in mentioning it. I only do so to add an air of credibility that I imagine may be required by some readers.
I write on this particular occasion much for the same reasons I did as a child. They’re actually the same reasons why many writers write but few are willing to admit. I like creating something and having others see it. I have no grandiose notion that I’m like Ann Landers (no, I really am not old enough to know or recall her work I just have an old soul) but I do feel that writing for an audience and not just for yourself makes you more vulnerable, considerate, accountable, and honest. I realize that everyone is entitled to their opinion so if I’m not your cup of tea, that’s fine too. For the record, I like English Breakfast.
I often have so much pent up energy and thoughts that I’ve needed a constructive way to expel it. Reading and writing have always served as that outlet. As I’ve gotten older I’ve sadly done increasingly less and less of each. However, everyone reaches a point, in my case an early life crisis, where you make the decision to go back to something you love. Traditionally I write a lot of angsty poetry and occasional blog opinion pieces. But with my college degrees now a few years behind me (I have five but trust me, I’m quite self-deprecating), I must be productive for the sake of self-worth. It is my hope that my thoughts and opinions, which are not those of The Union-Recorder, will at least get you the reader to think. Even if you don’t like or agree with what I have to say, maybe it will inspire you to at least give some thought or consideration to a topic you may not have.
I like what living and basic social interaction and social awareness does to writing. I am often lead to write when even the simplest things impact me in ways that I just can’t explain. Think about how under generally innocuous circumstances you’re struck by how wonderful or terrible something is. You walk down your usual street and you see the same things but today that piece of trash seems more like a mountain of trash or that dilapidated building either needs to be repaired or reminds you of a quaint story you may have read. That’s how and what writing is for me. I don’t do it because I can’t do anything else, I do it because I don’t want to do anything else.
I sit here on the very day I was officially welcomed into the contributing editorial columnist role at The Union-Recorder feeling excited and seeing the world in a new light. Everything is fodder for my mind. I can feel the cobwebs lifting and like a musical prelude I’m anxious to see what things my mind has kept locked away for all these years. Some may be relegated to the cat litter box while others just may make it to coffee table and if I’m lucky, even to the water cooler!
This article appeared on page 5A in the 7/13/11 issue of The Union-Recorder.