- Books, Literature, and Writing
Writing on Hubpages when English is your second language
I started writing short stories and other inconsistancies some twelve years ago. I wanted to write for the longest time, but like everyone else, I had to put my ducks in a row. The opportunity knocked after a particularly bitter divorce, when I needed some kind of "therapy" to take my mind away from the grim reality of life. It worked. I got hooked on a new power ! I could create characters, make them live, make them love, make them die as I wished. I could mix up some personal experiences with completely fictional stories. I could mix characters from different eras. I could go completely nuts and write whatever I wanted. The sky wasn't even the limit ! All I had to do was decide, and off we went. Overnight, I had become a magician, and a happy one too, and there was no going back from there.
The thing is, I obviously started to write in my native language, which is...French. I know, I know, I've heard it all. We've been called traitors, we temporarily lost the privilege of our French fries (which by the way, are a Belgian invention !). Being part of the European community, we've also been called Urines . So to show you that I don't hold a grudge, I'm going to tell you the best French joke I've heard this side of the Atlantic, and this one was told by a English friend of mine ;
Seen advertised in a newspaper : For sale : World War II French rifle, never fired, dropped once.
Well, the way I see it, you can only laugh at someone else if you practice some self derision too. Back to writing ! A few months ago, a friend of mine, a real writer, a journalist, columnist, poet and author who actually writes for a living, introduced me to Hubpages and he showed me some of his hubs, and how the whole thing worked. He encouraged me to join, which I did not, thinking that HP was not an entity aimed at inexperienced amateurs like me. I suppose out of frustration, and I'd like to think because he somewhat believed in me, he set up an account for me, picked up my pen name, etc, and then he told me :"you're all set, go write something !" Since, for obvious reasons, Hubpages does not allow writing in languages other than English, I was standing against a wall. So, I tried. I bashfully started publishing a couple of short poems and I got some encouraging response. They say, there's no better way to learn how to swim than by throwing yourself in the deep end of the pool. Well, I don't know about that, but shortly thereafter, I began to write my first short story in English, and to my surprise the words started flowing quite easily. Needless to say, I work with the permanent help of a dictionary that I use both to check the definition of a word, as well as its spelling. The grammar is still difficult to me, and I'm sure a lot of my writings are imperfect in that regard. I also have trouble with the who, whom and whose, I never know wich one is right. And a few other things. But, over the months, I gained some confidence and managed to write a couple of pieces that generated praise I would never had thought possible four months ago. Of course, I'm aware than everybody is nice, and I need to take everything with a grain of salt, but still, it's been an enlightening experience so far, so I'll keep writing in English, for as long as there will be somebody to read me, or as long as I live, whichever comes first.
Overall and so far, my experience with Hubpages has been nothing but satisfying. I also got to get acquainted with other people's writing, and for this HP is a treasure trove. I've read stories I could not put down, I've read poetry that brought tears to my eyes. I've salivated reading some recipes, and I have spent way more than a reasonable amount of time here.
I read somewhere that Ernest Hemingway's original handwritings were sloppy, and that without the help of a good editor, he may never have been published. Of course, I'm no Hemingway and I'll never come even close, but I used this example to illustrate that maybe it's acceptable to write imperfectly.
A heartfelt thank you to all of you who have been generous and kind enough to post comments, and to the anonymous ones who voted up or awesome, beautiful, interesting and most generally, my gratitude goes to everyone who took the time to read something I wrote. You make my day, everyday and I am happy and proud to be a small part of this community...
- The Power of Two, a short story inspired by life
One person alone can change a lot of things. But when two men who don't even know each other and live thousands of miles apart team up, they can pull a miracle.