Little Epiphanies On My Writing Trajectory

Each time we sit down to create something, we are risking our whole selves. But when the result is the transformation of anger, disappointment, sorrow, self-pity, guilt, perverseness and wounded innocence into something deep and concrete and abiding — that is a personal and artistic triumph well worth the long and solitary trip.” Dani Shapiro

Spring is a season of transformation and rebirth. Every once in a while, I make room for personal growth by re-potting myself. I once touched on the idea of “being suited to my calling” or holding myself up to a particular type of artistic identity, in a post titled On Questioning My Writing Poetry.

Since then, I’ve been exploring other forms of writing and genres. And even though, I’ll never write a full-on memoir, I still find the personal essay/short memoir both attractive and scary as hell to write. But as the quote above indicates, risking ourselves has its own personal reward.

Anyway, the following snippets and dialogue are from my latest personal essay, where I share about my non-linear writing path.

The path and little epiphanies along the way

[at 6 years]
Me: “I want to be a teacher when I grow up.”
Class Teacher: “You could tell stories.”
Me: No way I could talk all day.

[at 10 years]
Me: I love reading and retelling forktales. I enjoy writing letters, too, to share the latest. But earning pocket money is splendid!

[at 17 years]
Mother: “You have the freedom…”
Father: “Time to craft your own story.”

[at 26 years]
Colleagues: “You should be a writer.”
Me: But I like the dynamic world of business. Besides I have rent to pay.

[at 37 years]
Me: I’m done with the rat race; it’s time to employ myself. And I really miss stories...

[at 40 years]
Me: Oh, I didn’t realise I love languages until now! I like speaking foreign. I also enjoy answering questions about my birth country.

[at 42 years]
Me: Hmm…Maybe teaching could be a path back to stories and a way to impart knowledge.

[at 43 years]
Literature Professor: “You could become a poet.”
Me: LOL! It’s a joke, right?

and the story continues…

You can read more of my little epiphanies and everything else in between from my essay, When You Get Tired of Your Own Nonsense. The key message I hope to convey is that if you have a deep passion for storytelling, you’ll always find your way back to it. But as we know, the path to this deeply satisfying vocation is long, arduous and non-linear.

Care to share the evolution of your artistic path or career? Regardless, keep evolving and never stop learning, and remember to be kind to yourself!

PS. The featured image was created with Gencraft.

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and creative professional. Her blog focuses on all things poetry and creative nonfiction.


  1. I’ve been reading your essays on the LiteZine site and have enjoyed the window into your life! Thanks for linking them up with your recent blog posts.
    Also, as per your last questions – your use of bullet points makes sense of what can be a windy road (yes, for me always non-linear as with yourself!) of creative direction. That said, I think I’ll do the same over the summer as a ‘fun’ writing exercise.
    hugs during this springtime ‘re-potting’ of yourself. 🙂

  2. Many thanks Laura for reading both this post and essay. I’m glad you enjoyed this brief peek into my life. And YAY for thinking of the doing the same over summer! Here’s to re-potting… 🙂

  3. You know what, Khaya? You could write a memoir in verse. I think Jacqueline Woodson did that, but it is a thing. I honestly think you’d brilliantly execute something of that nature.

  4. Oh my, Kathy! What am I going to do with your kind suggestion and your vote of confidence, when you know how scared I am to write a memoir? 😀 I’ve toyed with the idea of a memoir in verse, and ended up convincing myself that I’m not writing any memoir. But this message and recommendation keeps popping up. Thank you for another nudge; now I’ll go find Woodson’s books and read at length. I’m not making any promises though about the actual writing…

  5. Khaya, what a superb and enlightening essay which is written with eloquence, poetic touches and a sense of fun! Your capture the milestone of your writerly life brilliantly, the events the punctuate each new step, your reaction to each suggestion! I’m smiling at your exchange with your teacher to her suggestion of you being a poet! (Oh, I love Keat’s poetry!) Yep, it’s hard to write to poetry – but you’re a nature and have a gift for writing overall! I am glad your numerous paths keep leading you back to storytelling, to the written word – here’s to you, the writer, the entrepreneur, the educator! Kudos to you, my friend! xx❤️

  6. I enjoyed your essay, Khaya. It is really interesting how we find our passion. I envy people who always knew they wanted to be a ( ) and then did it. My route was more like yours: a twisty winding journey pulled in different directions by creative, economic, and practical needs. I too thought I’d be a teacher (that and “secretary” were the options when I was a kid). Thank goodness it didn’t come to pass. Hugs, my friend.

  7. Annika, thank you for the kind and encouraging comment. I really appreciate you taking time to read. Here’s to writing and telling our stories! Happy Summer, my friend. <3

  8. I also envy those with clear aspirations from a young age. Because I still don’t know (even at this mature age) what I want to be when I grow up.:D I’m happy you could relate to the twisty winding journey … Thank you for reading, my friend. I appreciate it!

    Happy Summer! <3

  9. Ha. I didn’t start writing until I was 50, Khaya, so it took me a long time to discover my passion. But the journey was a necessary part of getting here. And change is inevitable even now. I love the idea that there is still “growing up” ahead. Embrace it, my friend. <3

  10. You made my morning, Khaya! I love your concept of repotting oneself. Don’t forget adding compost and fertilizer now and then! Life is a continual repotting and analysis of what makes us flourish.

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