As a little girl, I began trying my hand at writing as soon as I learned how to form sentences with my shaky pencil. I realized that I could at least imitate—or borrow from—the stories my mother had read to me, from fantasy to wholesome children’s tales.
My classmates in elementary school called me a “walking dictionary,” but I gleaned my knowledge of language from Junie B. Jones and Anne of Green Gables, to name just a couple of my favorites. I couldn’t tear myself from these paper and ink friends, people, worlds.
Writing fascinated me because once I mastered the basics of grammar and sentence structure, I could create art out of nothing more than a pencil and paper. I had no conception of technique or style, so the words I had always wanted to say out loud poured out onto the page with abandon. My dialogue was nonexistent, my adjectives and adverbs runaway. But my teachers encouraged this creative expression from a know-it-all little girl who could hardly bring herself to speak.
Flash-forward to the present day. I’m now a writing major, which provokes odd looks and semi-pitying smiles from most. I write because I read—fantasy, romance, science fiction, satire, social commentary. I write because I sure do need the practice. I write because, more often than not, I can express my thoughts more eloquently in writing than I ever could aloud.
My sophomore year of college, I wrote a short story for a fiction workshop class about a girl named Tommy who loved pink, and played soccer, and knew she wasn’t really a boy. In comparison to my other short stories, this one was—certainly not easier to write—but the emotions and characters flowed more freely from my imagination because I’d befriended several transgender teens in high school and knew their struggle firsthand.
I write to bring awareness to topics often shuttered by fear or shame. I write to create worlds and characters, and to explore my own mind. I write to know myself.
[Note: This blog post was originally published on my first attempt at a blog on September 14, 2014]