Don’t ask me why I decided to be a writer; the answer is not a straight line, and if I could tell you, I’d likely complicate it.
All I know is books have always been a part of me.
I cannot remember the very first book that caught my eye. I know I read Stella Luna a dozen times. Whenever I was gripped with the sudden need to revisit it – or when I missed my mother – I sought it out. One time, I spent over a year searching for the cover because I had forgotten the title.
I know the most important book on my shelf is Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. Not because I’m a die-hard Harry Potter fan (I am) but because, if you flipped to the cover page, there’s an inscription written in Latin. It says: per angusta ad agusta. Through difficulties to honors. And it was a man named Harry who wrote it for me. He was the CYS worker who changed my life by requesting my case. He believed in me.
I know the biggest book regret I have is not being able to find and finish The Finder’s Stone Trilogy by Jeff Grubb. I was young and I couldn’t appreciate it then.
I know I sat on a roof deck in Pittsburgh and openly, quietly, wept at the end of Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay. It was poignant and beautiful.
I know nothing that has taught me the difficulties of blood family like Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices, The Mortal Instruments, and Dark Artifices.
Nicholas Spark’s The Notebook introduced sex to a fourteen-year-old me. I discovered the word “nipple” and abruptly shut the cover because it made me uncomfortable. It showed me the world beyond my concept of the present and how complicated people make love.
I know when I find the perfect lines – the ones that seem to be written just for me – I lose my breath and I want to covet them.
I know it was poetry that first turned my heart to writing.
I equate books with all the loveliest and saddest moments of my life.
Books have always been a part of me. I spent my nights as a foster kid reading until my eyes begged for sleep. In their pages, I learned to how to grieve my losses and to love. Books lent me their bravery, their empathy, their worldly views. And I took their lessons. I ate them and lived off of them and craved them. I cherished the comfort they brought me, the ways they made me feel when I thought I couldn’t.
In books, I was elsewhere, anywhere, everywhere.
Is this why I became a writer? I don’t know. The answer isn’t a straight line and if I tried to explain, I’d likely complicate it.