Why I decided to become a writer
by Nan Harrell Snider
I was born and raised on the same land where four generations of my descendants have lived. I have been surrounded by family historians all my life and never stopped to think that it would not continue as such forever.
I have always been a writer, as long as I can remember. As a young person I always kept journals, diaries, worked for school newspaper, contributed to local newspapers, performed on stage in plays and skits, and was never ill at ease to speak before classmates and audiences. If any teacher ever asked the class for an opinion, I was the first to raise my hand.
My father wanted me to get a higher education, beyond just high school. He was a man who always wanted me to reach higher, stretch myself, grown and tap into my natural resources of intuition ,ability, and determination. He often encouraged me to help him write things down, to keep good records, to put things into words, for posterity. In 1976 my father, Jethro Harrell, died. I thought my resource for strength, encouragement, and family history died with him, but I was wrong.
Alex Haley's book "Roots" came out that year, and the movie soon followed. I watched with amazement and revelation. I soon realized it was never to late to express yourself and to write about your heritage. It dawned on me that Haley was just a simple man with a simple story to tell, about his family, and he did it so beautifully. He touched the hearts of all would-be journalists, who dream of writing important things down.
Growing up in Northeast Arkansas, amid so many of my relatives, has give me an expanded family and a variety of resources to draw from. For the most part, my family members has been people-oriented, community spirited, religious, hard working and over-comers. There have been countless varieties of folklore handed down through the generations, many that crisscross and shed new light on the individuals. There are so many stories to tell, so many characters involved, so many plots and subplots in their lives, so many heroes, so many underdogs, and so many achievers.
I am thankful for these formative years growing up on a cotton farm, with plenty of quiet and solitude and time to think, ponder and explore. I don't regret marrying at the young age of 18. I am thankful for having two wonderful daughter and getting to stay home with them to be a full time mother and homemaker. All of these things have given me rich resources to draw from as I write.
Through the years I have found great joy in writing, recording and photography. Every club or organization I ever joined, I soon found myself elected as secretary or reporter. Writing always came natural for me, and I loved the challenge of leadership and organization.
I have chosen a career as a journalist, because I simply can not help but do it. I am drawn to writing like a moth is drawn to a flame. I have an insatiable curiosity about people and things and a overwhelming passion to write things down. I believe strongly in what stories I choose to do. It is important to me to write with honesty and integrity, believing that what I write does make a difference and that my words will long outlive me.
I have chosen to document stories about trials and tribulations of seemingly insignificant people in order that those who come after me can see the importance of the simple things in life, as well as the day-to-day struggles.
This web site was last updated on 09/06/04.
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