Life is an interesting journey and rarely what we expect it to be.
Growing up, I always imagined myself with an exotic career and traveling the world. I wanted to be an archeologist, sort of like Indiana Jones but with less running from danger and more research. Ok. Nothing like Indiana Jones, I have asthma and I’m clumsy. I’d drop my inhaler and trip over the air the first time a boulder started rolling my way.
I did (and still do) love research though. There was nothing quite like browsing through a card catalog and writing the names of journals and books on a pile of scrap paper and hoping at least one of them had the information I was looking to find. I miss the card catalog in its physical form, but I still enjoy finding what I’m looking for and putting it all together.
Words and stories have always been important to me. I don’t know when I actually learned to read, but I know I was reading by the time I started Kindergarten. I’m pretty sure my first solo book was one of my dad’s Louis L’amours. I’m also certain it was my first DNF (did not finish). I was just trying to prove to my mom that I was actually reading and not reciting The Poky Little Puppy from memory.
I never thought about writing as a career choice. I mean, I have been writing my whole life: poetry, short stories, essays, speeches, and as mentioned above, an endless amount of research papers. But those were things I had to do – like breathing, eating, and algebra homework.
My first memory of writing being a necessity was the day my grandmother died. She spent many days of my first ten years as my Queen in Shining Armor. I had been living with my dad for almost seven months when she called me, just to talk. She asked me how my new school was going, if I’d had a good summer, what books I was reading, and more I wish I could recall. We talked on the phone for almost four hours that Sunday. Two days later, we received the phone call that Memaw died.
I was reading the Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, and I’d just read that heart-wrenching moment in the book when *spoiler alert, highlight to see Leslie dies.*
So, I was already in tears when my dad answered the phone. And it was too much. Too much pain. Too much emotion. Too much being ten years old. I ran to the back room, and I wrote. I wrote because every word scratched on the paper transferred pain away from my soul, from my very being. I wrote because it was the only way that I could start to breathe again, and breathing meant that I was alive, even when they weren’t.
So I wrote.
So I write.