My First Story

The first story I ever wrote I put in my Barbie diary, which had room to write phone numbers and addresses in half the pages (because in the 90’s, the stationery companies thought everyone needed that), and the other half were blank pink pages with flowers around the edges. I still remember being bitter that it didn’t have a section with lines, even though I didn’t know how to write words.

I drew my story with pictures. Very bad pictures, but that was okay. I was just beginning.  I was five. And I knew every single word to that story in my heart, so the pictures were just to help the other people out who I would read the story to. I still remember it all. Now, I use that memory when I want to laugh or when someone asks me when I started writing. It was a happy story about something forsaken and lost that gets found and rescued.

Today is a big day. I finished my first book. I still have to send it to some people for their opinions and some editing, but my 122,000 words are words that I’m happy with. As I look over the book in front of me, I can’t help but think of the first story I ever wrote. This book has some of the same themes. In my storytelling, my characters still search for what’s been forgotten to restore it to what it should be. Funny how some things stay the same.

A childhood friend recently visited me, and we got talking about if you ever actually change as a person. Some things change, but don’t some things always stay the same? I think about that a lot, think about nature versus nurture, think about how who I was when I was five defines, in part, who I am at twenty-four. I think about that when I’m writing, too. Who was my character when she was 5? How has she changed over her lifetime? What about her will never change?

If I ever write a children’s book, I think I’d use that first story I wrote. I’ve written a lot over the years. Most of it was more of an emotional outlet, using a set of characters to express how I felt in a parallel world. The only stories I ever remember finishing are my first one and my most recent one. And now I’ve got plans for more.

It’s a really big deal to finish an entire book. Not to brag, but I’ve put a lot of work into it. I had the idea for this story my second year of college. I still remember the wisp of a scene popping into my head. And I held onto it, and thought about it, and eventually the entire thing came to me. My main resolution for 2018 was to write this book. My resolutions for 2019 will probably be get it published and write book two.

I have learned so much about creative process and storytelling over the past year. In the past, I tried starting blogs. My problem is I never think I’m interesting enough. Why would someone want to read about me if I don’t have anything interesting to say? But I finally think I do. When I started seriously writing The Wanderer (my book), I thought a lot about what I wanted it to say to people’s minds and souls. Words in a story tell a story, but who does reading beyond the lines of words speak to?

Maybe nobody. Maybe my book won’t ever get published, and it’s actually terrible, and I’m one of five people who get to read it, and the world will never know my creative genius expressed on those pages. But even if that’s the case, it was still worth writing. It was still worth investing a year of my life in. I still believe in my story and what it’s saying, so I’m going to write Book 2 regardless. And I think that’s a magical feeling.

So I’ve also decided to write stuff here. It’ll be mostly about writing. I think putting words on pages is an important thing. I think in the creative world there’s a lot of criticism, which has its place. But I’d like to have a space of encouragement for people who like to write, or are trying to write, or like to read about writing. And maybe that can be magical, too.

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