The Journey From Then To Now Part 1

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.

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