Thing1, like many boys, fell in love with cars as soon as he was old enough to push a Matchbox car around on the floor. When he was two, he put his cheek to the ground, hunching over to study the motion of the wheels as he nudged it back and forth over a road that had been printed on a small rug. When he was five, he drew cars in profile, telling himself stories under his breath as he drew.
The stories grew quiet as he got older, but I never forgot that, as much as he loved cars, my Thing1 was a storyteller. He was a writer.
He is many other things too – a computer geek, a researcher, and a worker. And, when I’ve suggested he start a blog or journal about his research or his experience with chronic illness, he’ll often respond with, “I’m not really a writer.”
I don’t know where he got the idea he wasn’t. Maybe we all get a bad grade in an English class and convince ourselves we ‘can’t’ write. But, thankfully, curiosity and passion are waiting show us we’re wrong.
Thing1 is taking a gap year to deal with his illness. Choosing to put his health over his immediate education left him with an emotional void, and he’s been working to fill it. He’s reconnecting with old friends and teaching himself new computing techniques. And, when he’s had energy, he’s been test driving cars.
Most of the cars are way out of my price range, let alone his, but for 30 minutes, he’s no longer sick or feeling a void. For the duration of the test drive, he’s talking and reviewing. He’s telling stories again.
Last week he started a blog with an eye to gaining the skills he’d need to do tech support for the people who make WordPress. He discarded a few initial ideas of writing about nutrition or Ulcerative Colitis or even computers and decided to write his passion.
He signed up for WordPress and, like your average teenager, had it figured out in 2 minutes, setting up a new blog called DrivingExperiences.net. Then he put together his first post and sent me a link. As I read the post and heard him describe his vision for the blog, I realized he had found the silver lining in the gap year. And I told him what I tell everyone I meet who is finally writing their passion.
“You were always a writer. You just needed to remember it.”