Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

I Am A Writer

This is a guest post by my wife, Joan Faith. She is an award winning poet. I feel very fortunate that the contest Joan and I came up with for Positive Writer – You Are A Writer – When did you know? – inspired her to write this guest post. I hope you enjoy it, and feel free to let her know in the comments. This is not an entry. Joan will be helping me choose the winners.

Am I a writer?

Yes, although incidentally in my view…

Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Johannes Vermeer - Wikimedia Commons

Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Johannes Vermeer – Wikimedia Commons

I first realized it years ago when I won a writing contest about patriotism that I had not even entered, but had turned out to be part of the writing project I was assigned.

I did not expect to be recognized for my writing, because I did not see myself as a writer but an artist. I had been awarded for my art and that made sense, because I worked at it and had a passion for creating it.

Writing everyday for the sake of writing has never been a passion of mine in so much as I do not feel compelled to journal my experiences or necessarily record witty observances of the human condition.

My passion however is to write in a style that conveys an idea or experience to others the way a painter creates a work of art.

Every great work of art tells a story just as brilliant literature is a work of art by the way it is written. (Tweet This)

The 17th century painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Johannes Vermeer captures the essence of his servant girl subject. Her body is not facing the viewer, but we see her demure countenance looking back slightly over her left shoulder, expressing reticence with her eyes toward the artist.

The luster and elegance of the single pearl earring contradicts her plain attire, and is only repeated in the delicate sheen of her youthful lips. Vermeer values her for her servitude and beauty, while she seems to appreciate her employment and being his muse.

In the book, The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, she transports us and her characters to the raw shoreline of Newfoundland to discover the brutal truth about love. The main character, Quoyle, travels to the unforgiving island with his aunt and two daughters after the death of his abusive parents and unloving wife to get a fresh start.

Proulx writes with such eloquent precision and depth in describing both his geographical and emotional journey that I as the reader feel as though I am standing on the edge of the world with Quoyle staring down an endless view of the crashing sea, while gently breathing in possibilities that now surround him.

When I was given the assignment to write about patriotism, I chose to relate what I imagined my uncle Rick’s experience may have been as a soldier serving in Vietnam.

Although he never spoke to me about his tour in Vietnam, I naively attempted to picture what it must have been like for him there. The words came to me as an image of a soldier pausing between firefights reaching into his pocket to pull out a letter and a pink silk ribbon from home.

As he begins to read the familiar words on the love worn stationary time slows, minutes seem like hours and the disparate din of gunfire fades. The smell of smoke and the stench of death that pervaded his nostrils are briefly replaced with the fresh scent of peach pie and baby powder as he holds the letter and ribbon close to his camouflaged face.

He takes one more deep breath of hope and then suddenly looks up toward the sound of the jungle coming alive.

He exhales, resigned to fight.

He fights for the will to persevere. He fights to hold his family again. He fights for freedom for himself and us.

At the age of seventeen my focus was on science and art.

I intended on becoming a surgeon or an art historian. But when my writing got noticed, it motivated me to improve my writing and I ended up changing my major in college to English literature by my sophomore year.

When I write now it is not to be noticed or published. It is an exercise in creative expression just as painting is for me.

I am a writer.

Are you a writer? Share in the comments.

~Joan F. Hutchinson


About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • Without any doubt, you are a writer.

    • Joan Faith Hutchinson

      Hi Shelly,

      ‘Without a doubt’? As a writer yourself, you know we are plagued with doubt at times, sometimes mid sentence.

      But, putting ourselves out there helps allay the doubts somewhat. It also helps us improve as writers with the positive or negative feedback we graciously receive from our peers.
      Thanks for your comment! Would like to read about when you realized you are a writer too.

  • Yes, Joan, you are a writer!

    • Joan Faith Hutchinson

      Hi Joan,
      Thanks for your kind statement! 🙂
      Are you entering Bryan’s writing contest? I would love to read your entry.
      Joan Faith

  • kathunsworth

    What a talented couple enjoyed the read thanks Joan and Bryan.

    • Joan Faith Hutchinson

      Thank you Kath!

  • How exciting Joan to be an artist x 2. With words as well as lines and color. I thoroughly enjoyed your interpretation of what your uncle experienced in Viet Nam. It drew me into his moments there. Curious if you ever shared them with him?

    Would love to read some of your poetry.

    Seems you also write good reviews as well. It’s nice to meet you Joan through your words.

    • Joan Faith Hutchinson

      Hello Anne,

      Thank you for your considerate comments. Unfortunately I have never shared that poem with my uncle directly. He is a very private person and has only ever spoken to my mother, his sister, about what really happened there.

      Look forward to reading your entry for the Positive Writer writing contest. I understand you are a fantastic writer and poet yourself.


      • Joan,
        I do want to enter the contest. Right now I am making some real headway in the book I’m working on. I feel I am to add my story to that of my sister who died from domestic violence.

        I HAVE to write. The poetry just comes to me. I think because I think poetically, if that’s even possible. I once had a publisher tell me my level of poetry is higher than my level of writing. I believe this course has helped me raise it. That’s what I’m working on anyway.

        I’m so glad you shared your story with us. Thanks, Joan.

  • Joan, it’s lovely to meet you here and enjoy your beautiful writing. I was really struck by the closing words,”What I write now is not to be noticed or published. It is an exercise in creative expression just as painting is for me” as I feel our aim is primarily to write, draw, or paint because we need and want to for its own sake. Acclaim may or may not follow that process. Creativity is a God-given gift and our gift to Him is the expression of it. You are very blessed to paint with art and words! I echo Anne’s wish below as I would also love to read some of your poetry.

    • Joan Faith Hutchinson

      Hello Joy,
      Thank you. I feel that my closing words echo a sentiment felt my many creative people.
      Writers, painters, or dancers would create even if they were never recognized for their work, it is innate to their spirit.
      Take care,

  • Mary Kay Huck

    I am a writer because when I write, I’m settled. And there’s no greater joy than when I hear others are moved – either with their heart or mind – by the words I’ve written down. Thank you, Joan, for moving my heart with your story!

    • Joan Faith Hutchinson

      Morning Mary Kay,
      I am humbled that my words moved you. Keep writing to calm your soul and touch your readers with your words.
      Kindest regards,

  • No doubt that you are a writer, Joan. More importantly, you have found the ability to paint with your words, obvious in your comments about your uncle’s time in Vietnam. You and Bryan make quite the couple!

    In answer to your question, yes, I am a writer. A day without writing for me is a like a day without light. I am transported when I’m writing and recent responses to my writing blog has proven that my dream of reaching others and touching their lives is happening. If I’m never published, I’m still a writer!

    • Joan Faith Hutchinson

      Hello Sherrey,

      Thank you for your generous comment!

      Wonderful to know that writing is a joyful state of being for you and that it gives you a perfect platform to transform other peoples lives.
      Would like to read you entry for Bryan’s writing contest.
      Take care,

  • themagicviolinist

    Hi Joan! 😀 Your post was fantastic! I hope my essay can be as half as good as yours.

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