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I am an avid book reader. In fact, I’d say I have a book addiction. Going to a book store makes me giddy. I can spend hours roaming the aisles, skimming rows of books and adding to my already large collection. Don’t go to a bookstore with me unless you’re prepared to deal with me blabbing on about a cool book I just found or upset the last book in a series I’m reading isn’t available. Also, if you want to talk about a book I just read and loved, I will want to cover every major moment that happens to the characters. I may even get angry with some of their decisions. So, be warned.
No matter where I am going, I will always have a book on me. It might be a paperback (because hardcovers can be cumbersome and heavy) or an eBook reader. Heck, my phone has a Kindle app on it for such occasions where I have an urge to read but didn’t want to carry too much with me. Like I said, reading is my addiction.
If I am not reading, you can usually find me on my computer writing. It might be poems, song lyrics, or manuscripts. I even have a folder on my desktop filled with book series I want to write, random dialogue or plot ideas that popped into my head. I also tend to keep everything no matter how terrible it might be. I have creative writing assignments from high school English classes sitting in a box, same from CEGEP. I keep them because I might read them again one day and be struck by an idea or fall in love with a character and want to bring them back with a different story in mind. I am a pack-rat of the written word. Or, at least of my written words. I think it's a habit that comes with being a writer.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can recall but it was in the sixth grade I decided I wanted to be an author. My best friend at the time loved the story I had to write and read to the class. It was about a class trip to a cave to study bats. The main character got separated from the others and ended up getting lost. She came upon a boy who was living there and convinced him to come with her. Seeing how much my friend liked my story made me realize the power a book can have. It could make us smile and laugh, make us cry and feel for the character, or completely shock us with the unexpected. Stories were magic. I already knew that from reading books. Books brought fairies to life where they hid in flowerbeds and pixies played tricks. You could even travel to another world using a wardrobe and follow four siblings on their journey. I knew books were gateways to so many adventures but it never truly clicked that I could write my own and have the story cause the same effect on others until that moment. I made magic with my words. I wanted to do it again. So, I did.
I spent a lot of my high school writing teen romances that my friends would devour as soon as I wrote a few paragraphs. I have four or five notebooks filled with one manuscript. Throughout the pages, in the margins or by a paragraph’s end, are my friends’ initials marking off where they stopped reading. Sometimes they’d leave comments about what they liked or didn’t, comments urging for me to write more. I shouldn’t admit it, but motivated by their enthusiasm I would sometimes write more in class when I should have been writing class notes. It didn’t matter that the stories were never going to be published, my friends loved them. It was enough for me.
Honestly, reading and writing are probably tied for first place as my favorite pastime. Anytime I have a moment to myself I’m reading or writing, during school breaks, work breaks, on the bus, train or metro. I carry small notebooks and pens in my purses in case inspiration strikes. Sometimes when I’m trying to fall asleep at night, I will suddenly get an idea for a character in the book I’m currently working on, realize a plot hole that needs to be fixed or solve a problem that had frustrated me for weeks. I might create new characters, think of what their adventure will be or how they might fit into another character’s life. If I don’t write those ideas down immediately I will forget them by morning. I had to start using my phone to keep track of the random bursts of creativity that hit me at odd moments. Squinting at the phone’s screen, not wanting to waste time finding and putting on my glasses, I’d type as quickly as I could. Of course, those ideas don’t always make sense come morning, sometimes they get deleted after a good laugh but I don’t stop writing what comes to mind. You never know when one phrase can lead to an amazing tale.
Regardless of what happens next for me, I will keep writing and trying to get my stories out there. They’ve been patiently waiting in notebooks, in boxes, in folders on my computer for far too long. It’s time I share them.