I can’t begin to tell you how many stories I’ve started and then never finished…
because then I’d never finish.
This is the story of my story as a writer writing her story. As a seven-year-old, of course I hadn’t taken stock in the freedom that writing would afford me. However, I moved with my family from one of the US’s most populated cities to a tiny town in rural East Texas and I lost my voice. Quite literally. I didn’t talk at all except when prompted. When I did speak, it was barely audible. What kind of storytelling do these qualities yield? A muted, shy, absolutely shaken (cue SAD lightbulb) seven-year-old kid entered a “young writers and illustrators” contest at her new school because she was assigned to do so, and after winning the contest, was given great faith and confidence in her abilities as a storyteller. Best of all, it was one of the few aspects of school she enjoyed.
Elementary school and its consecutive contest winnings morphed into creative writing endeavors on my own time into middle and high school. My escape from a school social system in which I didn’t quite fit was simply to go home and pen an alternate reality. Sometimes it was impossibilities I’d write about. Other times, it was something so close to reality but nothing I could realize in my own reality…movement, freedom, connection, love, a voice. As cliché as it sounds, writing was the only thing rooting me on day after day. All I was doing was penning my imagination.
Years of academic writing based on research, facts, persuasion, current events, and eventually capitalism led to the dampening of that flame for creative writing. The shortened form of online communications and digestible-in-30-seconds-quick bits of consumable media didn’t help the sharpening of the creative writing craft, either. The more “adult” I became, the less time I had for writing, naturally. And whenever I would make time, a story would start but not finish, over and over again. I still have stacks of stories that I started, printed, and yet never finished. Was it boredom or feelings of inadequacy as a writer?
Fast-forward to today and I’m 31 with the slowly glowing flicker of a story and the instinct to write. My ongoing resolution has been to write my own work of fiction and to create accompanying illustrations. My original intention was to do this in 2020 but ultimately, I wasn’t supposed to create an escape back then. I have a feeling this year will be different. It’ll be challenging to expose bits of both my reality and my imagination. I think the vulnerability asked of the latter is more intimidating, actually.
I’m concurrently scared and excited.