When I was three years old, I was writing. Now, it’s not like I was writing anything particularly good, but it was still happening: I was taking my pudgy, greasy fingers and putting pencil to paper, and stories would emerge before I knew it.
Since then, not much has changed–I’m still letting stories dribble out of my head, and through my fingers, and into the real world for all to gawk at and judge. I’ve been a storyteller since the moment I could form sentences, and over the years, my characters have come flash-fast and lightning-bright, and I have been ruled over by worlds not my own: those found between the pages of everything I read and wrote.
Growing up near the rural stretches of southeastern Wisconsin, there was always plenty for me to be inspired by. My best friend and I would roam through the fields and map out forests and hills, adventuring the after-school afternoons away and collaborating our imaginations into conglomerations of stories and fantasy worlds. This is what allowed me to become more than just a storyteller, but a writer, an author–I have been working on my fantasy trilogy, Messengers, since essentially middle school, and in the fall of 2016, finally got the first one into publication. That is my passion; that is what flows within me and pushes at my seams day after day. My future has never held anything but writing books and delving into them head-first. I eat, sleep, breathe my characters, my wilderness world, the spaces between the pages of my brainstorming notebook. As a matter of fact, the header to this blog is a painting of one of my characters–they sort of own my whole heart.
With that, an English major was a no-brainer. I could write, I could go into editing and publishing, I could surround myself with my own fantasy bubble for the rest of my life. I wasn’t ready to venture into faraway lands for an intense creative writing degree (despite my lifelong dedication of, obsession with, and heart-home in Canada), and so I snuck two hours north to De Pere, where I reluctantly joined the creative writing track offered–reluctantly, because I had always believed “I don’t need a degree to write a book.” It was not a sentiment my family was too fond of, but to my credit, I stuck with college despite often feeling as though my passions were not being allowed to fully blossom. A lot of it may have had to do with the adorable squirrels on-campus.
However, since then, I have learned to enjoy the other gears and mechanisms of the English major: the analysis, the craft, the persuasion. I have decided that writing great literature is often a consequence of reading great literature, and discovering what is within that great literature, and analyzing it for what it holds deep down in its bones. I figured out how not to hate the academic essay despite its lack of dialogue and metaphoric prose, and acknowledge how much it can teach creative writers about their own process. Seeking what lies deep in the heart and soul of great literature provokes similar heart and soul within yourself, and can allow new ideas and new stories to spring forth from you. Learning to read for the sake of my writing has changed everything within me, and has made the academic writing process sometimes, dare I say, fun. After all, it’s investigating characters and plots: the same things I do when I write.
Aside from writing, I enjoy a whole host of strange pastimes–I like to go for walks in places where few feet have traveled, I like to paint scenery and the backs of my characters’ heads, I like to take pictures of my tiny plastic skeletons in precarious places, and I’m strangely attached to the characters of shows whose plots I barely follow. I’m a firm believer in the notion that every person has one topic they’re uncomfortably familiar with and have no real reason to be (mine is Japanese history) and the idea that things do not happen in a matter of time, but in a matter of timing (which are the lyrics to my favorite Motion City Soundtrack song).
I hope my future holds perfect timing in whatever ways it can. I also hope my future holds more book publications, a tranquil house in the Canadian woods with a couple of cats, adventures with my closest friends, and of course, more chances to grip onto the literary world in whatever means necessary and available to me. The one thing that’s for certain is that my fantasies and characters are going to follow me wherever I go–my apologies to the real world.