A lot of authors and writers-and creative people in general-get asked often just why they started doing what they’re doing. For some, it’s a pretty simple answer; they read a book that sparked their passion, or saw a painting, or watched a TV show/movie and just started working on their passion. For others, it might be a difficult question to answer. Sometimes, this sort of thing just happens to us. For me, maybe it was a little bit of both?
Growing up, I’ve always been a creative kid. I didn’t have the most productive or interesting childhood. I think a lot of my early memories consisted of me spending days at abusive babysitters and having conversations with a stuffed bear when I was locked in a spare bedroom all day. But, one fond memory I have is of a certificate my second grade teacher gave me, commending me for my creative writing skills. I think my grandma still has it, actually.
I digress. Writing and art have always been fun and relatively easy things for me to do, but it was never really a passion of mine. My passion was digging holes in the dirt with stolen spoons when I was a little kid. Those were the best times! If only I could get paid for that, I’d be a billionaire–but anyway. It wasn’t until I was in junior high (about 12 or 13 years old) when the fire for writing was kindled in my soul.
I had a dream. Pretty cliche way to start this sorta thing, huh? I never said I wasn’t into tropes! I had a dream about being in a forest clearing, with a pond of silver-blue water in the center, and a silvery fog all about. Then, unicorns came crashing into the clearing to drink from the pond. And that was it. I loved the dream so much that I felt compelled to write it down, and I made up a story to go with it. I wrote a few pages in a few days, then shared it with some friends who seemed to love it. I loved writing it. I remember thinking, “This is the most fun I’ve ever had with something like this.” I didn’t think about editing-I didn’t know about editing. I just knew that WOW, writing is freaking great.
I wrote a few other things in junior high-none of which I have anymore. But, then high school came around, and I joined Intro to Creative Writing my freshman year with a teacher named Mrs. Lambert. I hated her my freshman year, lol. I think every freshman hated her-she hated freshmen. But I loved the class. Writing poetry and stuff, come on. Cake! All of it. My sophomore year, I took Creative Writing, which was only supposed to be for juniors and seniors. but, Mrs. L liked me enough to let me stay. I have never grown to respect a human being as much as I did Mrs. L. Sure, I was lazy and never completed my assignments on time, but it was because of her that I learned what was inside of me my whole life. A passion for writing. A pure passion. A need for it, to experience the emptying feeling when you sit for HOURS and just write.
I remember when we were writing our short stories in Creative Writing class. She walked by my desk and asked how many pages I had written so far. “Thirteen so far, but i’m only maybe halfway through it,” was my answer as I feverishly wrote more down. I was practically possessed by that pencil. well, she flipped out and told me that she can’t possibly read all of that when she has 40 other stories she had to read. Because of me and another girl, she told everyone there was going to be a 2,300 word limit. I was already WAY beyond that, so I was a little miffed. I had to cut so much out. It pained me.
But, when she handed me my short story back, I was so sure I’d get a bad grade, because it felt so rushed and empty. She told me she read it twice. Twice! I think I almost cried. I still have that short story; it’s a treasure, and it’s very precious to me. I took every class Mrs. Lambert taught all through high school after that. Towards the end of senior year, she pulled me aside, and said to me, “Don’t waste this talent.” She had been the only person at that time who had any belief that I could and would be a great writer.
I’m not going to waste this. I’m not going to give up on this, ever. Even though the people who don’t believe in me far outweigh the ones that do, it’s the ones that do believe in me that are held higher in my heart.
I’ll always want to prove you naysayers wrong, but I never want to disappoint the ones who have faith in me.