This post was originally featured at Jennifer Stark’s blog as part of the TTC/MK VBT 2012.
From a very young age, I was a reader. From a slightly less young age, I was also a writer. Granted, my first ‘books’ were mostly terrible 4- to 6-year-old attempts at illustrations to semi-nonsensical strings of words. Still, I like to imagine that those early “masterpieces” were the beginning stages of a wonderous disease that would color every year of my life.
Did I just call writing a disease?
Yes. Yes, I did.
In a way, it has been.
Symptoms include: a Vitamin D deficiency, oily hair, bad breath, deteriorating eyesight, chipped fingernails, and a somewhat lacking social life. I am mostly kidding. But there certainly was a time in my tweens, when I was deep in the throes of my first ‘real’ novel (which, as it turns out is only novella length, but I was proud) in which I spent a whole week of summer vacation in the basement with our super-special Tandy 2000, typing furiously. I didn’t shower, I didn’t see the sun, I didn’t speak to a soul aside from my parents and sister. But I finished the piece.
I always thought that that week, more than any other inclinations or passions, meant that I was officially bitten by the writing bug. I had the sickness. And I was getting down with it. *insert out-dated music reference here*
Today, almost exactly twenty years later, I shower regularly, brush my teeth, and take better care of both my fingernails AND my social life, however, I am still sick with this disease. I’m afraid I’ve got a terminal case.
Maybe I should get out in the sunshine more…
Anyway. That first novel was, admittedly, pretty awful. A girl named Whitney was kidnapped. She had to escape somehow. I think she tried and failed twice, but her determination not to break gave a second captured girl a surge of confidence and together they managed to flee. The details elude me, but I still have the whole thing filed away in storage. The ending was chock full o’ cheese and smarm. If I recall correctly, the kidnappers were caught and tried and put away forever and Whitney and her fellow-escapee became best friends. Then Whitney’s parents adopted her. I don’t know why or how.
After that, I was hooked. I didn’t stop writing for anything. I wrote three other novels (too short by technical definitions) including my first foray into the realm of fantasy, a faux-historical romance-adventure, and countless poems. In addition to the paperbacks I always carried around – to sneak a few more pages of reading in between lessons, at lunch or on the bus – I now lugged around notebooks and special writing pens. I spent more and more time at the computer and was often found there at 3 a.m. when I should have been sleeping because some great idea had woken me and HAD to be recorded. To this day, I have dozens of ideas, outlines, character sketches, and semi-fleshed-out worlds just waiting to be rediscovered and written about.
Throughout my High School and collegiate years, I continued to amass snippets and tidbits and ideas for novels. I wrote a trilogy of young adult fantasy novels about four girls with magical bloodlines trying to save the world. Begun, but never finished, was a novel that I have always referred to as my magnum opus and that I hope one day to be wise enough to complete. Delving into the world of roleplay, I took a tangental path and began writing elaborate backgrounds and companion stories for my characters. This spun into a whole other web of potential novels and introduced me to my life partner, fiancé and soulmate, Jack.
Somehow, despite struggling to find time and balance in my life, I always come back to words, to writing. It is as necessary to me as breathing. I am not sure my heart could pump if there were no characters brewing in my head, no words waiting in my fingertips ready to be scribbled into life.
I suppose, writing has not been so much a disease as an antidote, a cure.
The magical pill that keeps me sane and whole and creatively fulfilled.
Its no weight-loss wonderdrug, but it suits me fine.
How about you? When did the writing bug bite you? Or do you prefer to read? Did the passion for books and words start when you were a kid or later in life? I’d love to hear your ‘origins’ stories below!
Love & Rainbows,