As a preteen I began to fall in love with the notion of writing my own story. I had always loved reading and I guarded my collection of books with as much ferocity as I could. Everytime my mother got an itch to clean out the house I knew it was a matter of time before she made it to my bookshelf. We would argue endlessly about what I had to donate and what I could keep. She actually thought I could choose which books to give up!
“What about giving up the ones you read a long time ago?” she’d prompt.
“I re-read all of them though… a lot,” I’d sigh, knowing she wouldn’t understand.
“Really? All of them? Why would you read a book you’ve already read more than twice? I mean maybe if you had forgotten the story but I bet you don’t forget,” her smile was meant to soothe me but I bristled underneath.
“Fine,” my anger slowly draining into sorrow, “You can have a few.”
In the end I would part with almost a shelf’s worth of books which in hindsight I suppose wasn’t much since I double stacked all of my shelves just to have enough room. My mother never understood my attachment to books but she tried her best. There was just something so alive about each of them. The characters were always waiting in their pages for me, ready to be discovered all over again. Ready to follow their journey to the end with just as much fervor and gusto as the first time.
Each time I read a book I got to know it better. I searched pages for subtleties I hadn’t noticed before, tried to read between the lines of dialogue to understand the depth of a scene further, and dreaded the ending that always followed. My interest in writing really came from those endings I hated so much.
There were times I found myself imagining more to a story after the ending. As I fell asleep at night I would create fantastical additions to the lives of the characters I loved and even dreamed about their lives in the aftermath of their trials. Hesitantly I found myself filling the pages of dozens of notebooks with my ideas. I practiced writing dialogue and created hundreds of scenarios. Bits and pieces of stories filled so many pages that I lost track of how many I had.
My father had always encouraged my love of reading. As he saw me also become interested in writing I imagine his heart swelled. When I was thirteen he gave me my first and very own Mac laptop. You know the ones that came in multiple colors and were oddly shapped, with that handle on the edge? Anyone? Well I had one of those, in blue.
For the first few months I had it, that laptop had zero internet connection and only the basic applications but I didn’t give a rat’s ass. It had Microsoft Word and that’s all that mattered to me. I began typing out my story ideas in Word documents. All of them saved with strange names and my file folders began to fill up.
Finally I settled on a story to really delve into. It was about a different version of Earth, where supernatural creatures were the dominant species and humans were subpar. The story centered around a young woman, sold into human slavery at a young age, who has now been bought by a very elite, very wealthy, family of vampires.
Before you judge, I was thirteen ok? Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches, warlocks, elves, faeries, anything within the realm of myth and fantasy were things I loved. Anyway, that first story that I really dug my hands into captured me for quite a while. I wrote over 100 pages before I abandoned it for other pursuits.
Since then I’ve written hundreds of ideas, dreamt of thousands of worlds and people and creatures, but it’s hard to pick one to really go with. Writing, much like those books I hoarded, is in many ways an obsession. I find it so hard to focus on just one piece, one story, when there are so many many possibilities for me to pursue.
I collect tentative stories on my computers like I collect my books. Perhaps one day my fear of endings, of bearing down on just one writing piece, will subside and I will focus enough to finish something. Who knows? Until then I take joy in my pursuit in the art of writing. Much of me hopes and craves that I will be published one day, that my own creation will sit on someone’s shelf and call them back time and again to that small little world I create within the pages of a small little book.