Education

Kali Terry joins Insight News staff as intern reporter: Writing as antidote to pain and despair

As a child being raised by a single parent mother, you learn to survive with the absence of a male role figure. You depend on the care, direction, and nurture provided by that parent to keep your world in orbit. As a child being raised by a single parent mother, you learn to survive with the absence of a male role figure. You depend on the care, direction, and nurture provided by that parent to keep your world in orbit.

When my mother unexpectedly died, my world fell from its orbit. I could see no future for myself at the age of twelve and was wandering the streets aimlessly and recklessly. Withdrawn from typical childhood activities, I began to express my feelings in isolation by transferring my thoughts to paper. Finding it hard to trust people to talk with about my hurt and despair, I would write about the intensity of my feelings through stories that symbolized my life and contained my emotions. I found when writing, it was easier to express myself. I could organize my feelings better and put them into clearer meaning. Venting on paper was satisfyingly, more soothing than spilling my heart to an insensitive person and reduced the risk of encountering a person with an inability to relate to my pain. Instead of scrambling through my thoughts hoping to make sense to the person whom I was talking to, I could just write about them. So I began to write essays, poetry, reflections of self and stories containing characters that reflected my emotional persona and the despair that filled me at that time. I thought if I could just share some of my pain with these imaginary characters I wrote about, then maybe my load would be lightened and somehow I could escape the hurt I harbored. Not all the stories I wrote had plots and characters that were depressing. I often wrote fictional short stories of heroic, joyous young children who came from stable homes with two parents and who lived pleasant lives. When writing these particular stories, I figured if I pretended hard enough I could enter their worry-free world and have a piece of their joy.

I no longer have to pretend to be the characters in my childhood writings. That passionate form of expression I exercised as a youngster has developed into a love for writing. Now, I get joy from writing. What started as a coping mechanism to help vent my emotions as a kid, is blossoming into a vision of a career in Journalism. Undecided on whether to pursue higher education after high school, let alone what to major in, I was strongly encouraged by my English teachers to study journalism and mass communications. Considering their academic advice and my deepening love for writing, I am pursuing journalism at Minneapolis Technical College. As a staff writer for City College News, I have written articles that lay the foundation for skill building and experience in the profession.

The opportunity to work as an intern reporter at Insight News, includes engaging radio show discussion at KFAI and KMOJ, writing about business and policy issues in our communities, and doing video and still photography. It includes mentoring middle school youth associated with the YWCA/Franklin Middle School Beacons Program. It is an amazing experience that I couldn’t imagine being involved in at the rambunctious age of 12.

7/05/2004

July 5, 2004
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