Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Once Upon A Time: A Writer's Journey

Once upon a time, a little girl with a wild imagination was born in a dull, little town. While the town may have been boring, her life certainly was not surrounded by the shiny faces of her family. There were always rambunctious interactions occurring within the house they called home. Most of these interactions involved stories.

From an early age, the girl was followed by stories of all shapes and kinds. Yet, she could not write, and she could barely read on her own. So for a time, she settled on conversing with the characters she met within the stories.

She locked arms with Lucy Pevensie, and together they tramped through the snows of another world to meet a funny little faun, who liked to play music and drink tea. She hopped on board the magnificent ship of a scruffy-looking nerf herder, viewing the stars alongside the most famous heroes of the galaxies. She traveled in a tree house with a pair of siblings to all sorts of times and places, learning as she went. And she visited a bamboozled house to help an old man figure out what was mixed-up.

But she grew and so did her reading skills. Soon she did not need someone else to read to her, though she did still enjoy reading stories with people. She scooped up stories and held most of them dear to her heart, dreaming of other times, other worlds, other people.

Attics, pirate ships, outer space, and wardrobes became her spaces of creativity. She learned she could do anything between the pages of a book; she could be anyone.

She found herself on a covered wagon traveling West across America with a small pioneer family, the younger of the two girls becoming a close friend. She got into all sorts of trouble with a girl named Ramona, who had an interesting way at looking at the world. She became bosom buddies with an imaginative, red-headed orphan. And she flew second star to the right in hopes of never growing up.

But she did grow up. She learned to read thicker books. She met hobbits and Star Fleet captains. She traveled through all of time and space in a blue box. And she met costumed heroes that swept her away. Her collection of books grew as she grew, but her imagination never stopped. She’d peek through the wardrobe to see if Lucy and the faun were still by the lamppost. She’d look up to the treetops hoping for a flash of light to tell her a tree house waited for her. She’d rekindle friendships once lost from age. And she’d find the joy in her childhood adventures.

But along the way, reading about characters and stories was never enough. There were other inklings clouding her head with thoughts. Characters of her own sprouted up; adventures formed on the landscapes of her mind were born. And she wondered—no, dreamed—if these stories could mean something someday. If asked what the desires of her heart were, she’d respond with anything and everything. Yet, she really meant one thing that could allow her to do everything: write.

Her grandmother wrote her a story of her own adventures with podracers, peanut butter, and pretend play. The fun and imagination in the story told her she could write something just as magical. So she did.

She wrote about an abandoned puppy looking for a home while delivering newspapers in her neighborhood. She scratched a story about a boy with a dragon instead of enjoying the rays of the summer sun. She sketched scenes of a girl with superpowers during history class. And she thought of a tale of adventure and imagination instead of focusing on numbers and multiplication symbols.

But these stories became pages full of scribbles, tucked away in notebooks and folders, lost to the world. An archive of thoughts were soon left to the shadows of her closet. She continued to write, but she never finished a story. She began so many that were left hanging without a “happily ever after.”
Encouraged by family and friends, she wrote stories—some short, others long. She spent long hours talking to her characters in her room, trying so hard to finish a story she started. One she finished about dragons, but the sequels were never touched again. One she almost completed, but she soon found it sounded too much like a published book she had read. Then one November, she completed a challenge to write a book in thirty days. All through her high school classes she wrote and counted words until she hit the lucky number fifty-thousand.

A novel complete, a novel finished. Her journey to do the impossible had succeeded.
But this was just the beginning of her journey as a writer, the first test passed: finishing a story. Now she began the next story and the next. She learned new skills and techniques through books, the internet, and wise writers in her life.

Four years later, she has learned to write short stories, poetry, essays, and longer pieces. She’s completed five stories, novel length. She’s been privileged to read her work aloud. She’s written on blogs, helped run websites, and reviewed books—keeping her love for story still at the center of what she does. Yet, she still struggles toward the end journey. She has yet to complete an edited manuscript.

The love of stories never left the little girl from the boring, little town. The love for stories has only grown to hold her wild imagination in order to bring about more stories into the world. She continues on her journey, looking for her own happily ever after.

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