It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
OPTIONAL QUESTION: If you could use a wish to help you write just one scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?
MY ANSWER: Oh, I do have a wish that could help me write, but first, a slice of my personal history. A few days ago, on March 29th, I celebrated 25 years since I came to Canada, as an immigrant from the Soviet Union. So many significant changes have occurred in my life since that day. The most important two: my children grew up, and I started writing.
I never wrote in Russian, my mother’s tongue, except some essays in high school. I learned creative writing in English, my second language. By now, I’ve written several novels and got three of them published by small publishers. One even received an award. I’ve written a number of short stories, most of which were published in magazines or anthologies. I’ve been writing for a professional newspaper since 2007, and the number of my published articles is well over 300. One of my novellas on wattpad, a Regency romance Fibs in the Family, has topped 41K readers. But none of my editors ever remarked that I make grammatical mistakes like an immigrant, or at least they didn’t do it to my face.
My English – grammar, vocabulary, metaphors – must be adequate, BUT… Here comes my wish. I wish English was my first language. I wish I grew up in Canada. Because I didn’t, I missed up on some cultural references, and that deficiency occasionally seeps into my writing, makes it a tad less authentic.
For example, I don’t know any popular music names that Americans and Canadians of my generation grew up with. I’ve never read English nursery rhymes or super-famous children’s authors, like Dr. Seuss. Some of the dreaded clichés of the English language – I would never use them, not because I’m a better writer, but because they don’t make sense to me. As a result – I feel somewhat insecure in my writing. Every time I finish a piece, I think: is it good enough? Does my immigrant’s past leak through?
On the other hand, my growing up in another culture informed my writing in a different way. I think it added originality to my thinking, which also reflects in my stories. Which is good, right?