The Write to Teach

by Shane Reck

I love to write. I love the thought process that comes with the creation of connecting each individual word into something poetic, something imaginative. The passion for writing has not always been there though. I had always been that kid who could not quite figure out his exact place in life. As a young child, I think I was typical for the ages – playing with action figures and the occasional pooping my pants and hiding it in the laundry basket. It was not until I was eleven that I started finding out that I was not the same as the popular football hero or the extremely charismatic entertainer of the crowds. I was mostly shy, modest, but not so much as to be defined as a loner. I thought a lot.

I did not know why, but I always seemed to be the favorite among the English and Language Arts teachers. While in the eighth grade, I learned a lot from a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Halter. She made English fun. But she was not always nice; she had the great quality of not showing who her favorites were. It was not until the end of the school year that she pulled me aside privately and said, “Shane, come visit my class when you become a famous writer.” At the time, I just passed it off as teacher encouragement. The only thing I enjoyed throughout my high school days was skateboarding with friends. But much like anything else, it all tends to fade away.


Remember skating through the grade school parking lots,

And starting fires just to watch them burn?

I guess we never thought much about growing up,

Or thought much about everything we’d learn.

Sometimes we would hang out at the doughnut shop,

Making fun of everybody passing by.

No matter what it was we always had our fun

Savoring the moments left behind.

But where did it go and how’d we get here?

What happened to the nights when we didn’t care at all?

Where did it go and how’d we get here?

I’m still waiting for your call.

Sneaking out at night was always such a rush,

Smoking cigarettes and drinking beer.

Laying in the desert watching satellites,

I’ve never seen the skies look so clear.

I sometimes think about the stars above us,

Wondering if any shine for me.

I’d wish upon those stars so we were kids again,

The only time in life that we felt free.

So where did it go and how’d we get here?

What happened to those nights when we didn’t care at all?

Where did it go and how’d we get here?

I’m still waiting for your call.

My father died from an alleged suicide on November 5, 1997, just after he and the rest of my family had moved to Texas. I was freshly eighteen and still living in Oregon. I remember the moment my cousin broke the news to me on the front lawn of a friend’s house where I was living at the time. Remembering it now feels like a movie where I am watching from the outside of myself, as if it is happening to someone else and not to me. It hurt unlike anything else in my entire life, and in a way, it made me become less sociable and less acceptable to my social allergens. The only way I felt that I could deal with the new emotions and heartbreak was to take a friend’s advice and “just write it down.” I soon obtained a guitar through trade and later started writing songs and poetry about anything, every emotion I could feel about every aspect of life. Because of my depression, my pen would only scribble the mirroring emotions I felt at those specific times- sadness. And I had a lot to write about.

“Early November Mourning”

The rain falls down upon me, the wind blows through my hair.

I can feel the pain of heartbreak all around.

Another season turns- I think of all the things I’ve learned

As I watch the fallen leaves touch to the ground.

I can’t help myself, all the pain that I felt still leaves me with these empty eyes.

I point to my scars as I look to the stars and I scream, “Why did you have to die?!"

Someday I’ll see you, someday we’ll meet again.

Someday, I promise you. I just don’t know when.

The memories often haunt me, planting visions in my head

But this place is always closure for me.

I sometimes think I hear you and I wonder if you’re there,

Just another part to my reality.

I can’t help myself. All the pain that I felt still leaves me with these empty eyes.

I point to my scars as I look to the stars and I scream, “Why did you have to die?!"

Someday I’ll see you. Someday we’ll meet again.

Someday, I promise you. I just don’t know when.

Someday I’ll see you, somewhere beyond the stars.

I hope that we remember who we are.

Do I disappoint you or make you proud?

What star should I point to when I sing aloud?

I began to enjoy writing. I started to enjoy my own thoughts and shared them with family and friends. Their compliments encouraged me to continue writing different poems and songs. After losing my father, it would seem that I had enough to write a full-length album and believe me, those were the dreams I had throughout my early to late twenties. I wanted to be a songwriter like Lieber and Stoller or the Holland brothers of Motown, showing everyone in the world that I had something to say, something to express through music. We can all dream, can’t we? Although playing music was fun and still is, I could not expect to have my dreams come true. It was time to not take it too seriously and move on, which was about the time I met my wife. Now life had begun.

We married on July 19, 2008, and soon after, I adopted her then three-year-old son, Parker. Life was going all right. We made a decent income together, enough to enjoy our life without suffocation, and we decided to move to a new town the following year. Then tragedy struck again. Parker fell from his bedroom window of our two-story home and passed away later that evening in the hospital. Words cannot express the loss that we felt together and separately – especially her. For some time, I did not know how to comfort her, how to talk to her. I felt that we might not have the same enjoyment together as we had before. So naturally, I began to express my thoughts in the best way I knew how: by writing it down.

“Alone in the Crowd”

Just another day in this small town and like you, the skies are grey.

You couldn't find yourself out there and got lost along the way.

It's such a lonely road we live on- there's no one else for miles.

And the only thing of beauty around here is when you smile... but it’s been a while.

The record plays the saddest songs- a soundtrack to your years.

As you stare outside the window, I see reflections of your tears.

And no one understands your sorrows- you hide it deep within.

But if you found a way to let someone in... Where would you begin?

You can't lose yourself in this make-believe. You'd rather sleep than be awake,

Drifting along in dreams hoping someday these scribbled lines will be straight.

So, reality has long been hurting and there's no pills for this kind of pain.

I guess it's just part of life, and they say it's a game... but it's not the same.

There's no need to find the answers to those questions in your head.

You kept looking for some closure but found confusion instead.

But when the rainbows lose all their color because the rains have washed them out,

Just remember who has always been there and who's here now... alone in the crowd.

The nights are cold and feel like winter, and memories aren’t warm enough.

Your thoughts get lost within your silence; I know the emptiness can make it tough.

But it’s ok to have those feelings when you can’t help but simply cry.

And some might say it gets easier as time goes on by… but you know that’s a lie.

You can always find some sort of outlet since you don’t believe in needing help.

Maybe someday you will come to realize it’s not only for yourself.

Emotions are so hard to control; you thought you had it all along.

Until the memories come to haunt you, proving you were wrong… It’s hard to be strong.

You often wonder if God forgot you, or maybe he can’t hear your prayers.

So, you make excuses not to say’em- sometimes life just isn’t fair.

You might feel you’re going crazy, and you wanna start screaming out loud.

Because while you stared at the fading rainbow, you realized you were the cloud… washing it out.

But moving on is not forgetting. There’s always that place inside your heart

Where all the memories play like movies filled full of your favorite parts.

Now, you can’t live your life always running trying to escape your biggest fears.

So when you get lost in the crowd and all hope disappears… I’ll still be standing here.

After some time, our scars became less visible. We cover them well enough, but in hindsight, I guess it’s who we are – who we’ve become. Throughout our struggles, whether they are together or apart, we have realized that life is too short to waste the talents we possess. There has to be something worth working for to enjoy life a little more. It was not until early 2014 that we decided to go for it. We moved into the basement of my wife’s parents’ home here in Utah so I could go to college for the first time… at thirty-five! I want to become an English teacher and a writer. And considering all the lessons I have learned in my life, I think I have a right to write and teach. I believe I deserve it.

It has been a long road traveled for me so far, and I may not have all the answers in life or know how to make dreams happen, but one thing is for certain – I cannot give up. I have spent too much time already trying to make sense of everything. Now it is time to make sense while doing everything. The way I see it, if I can help encourage other writers, even just one, then it is all worth it. Because, while I may not be a great mind and say things of genius, I know who I am and what I want in life. And that is something not all geniuses can say.