It probably started in Treetops, VT. Or maybe it was somewhere else. Years ago, my sister, aunt, and I would pile into the car and head to this vacation spot. There were only a few cabins and only a few other families around. Usually there was no one around except for this one family that lived there year round. This place was special because, besides the lake and the rocky shore with the smell of smoke lingering in the air from the barbecue cooking, this was the place that we discovered Harry Potter. It might not seem like a big thing, but it was for us. The first night that we cracked open the book, owls sat there staring at us. They’d make their eerie noises and stare. The moonlight would filter through the trees and set the atmosphere. My aunt would read by the porch light, and I would listen to the soft murmur of her voice. There was nothing else but her voice, the night, and the owls. That’s all I remember now. I don’t remember one would of the book, except for parts from the movie. Back then, it wasn’t about the words. It was about being there with my sister and my aunt and having a good time. A place like that seemed to be magical. It was magical. But then years later, we were only half way through the 4th book of the series. My aunt got sick. Granted, she was never the healthiest. But cancer has a way of knocking anyone down. That’s when we stopped reading. And when her brain deteriorated, that’s when I stopped believing in magic.
I still cling to books. After she died, I started reading. And reading. I just couldn’t stop. The only series that I never could bring myself to touch was Harry Potter. To this day, it remains unfinished at halfway through book 4. But other stories get read every day, they get consumed. Looking back, I can see now how I took to reading to be closer with my aunt again. How I desperately searched for a way to find her again, to find the magic again. My sister was the opposite of me. She finished the series and never looked at another book. She has the entire series, in hardcover. And all the movies. But I can’t open up that one series. That’s uncharted territory that I want nothing to do with. But it’s what got me started on reading. And that lead me to being interested in writing.
Writing would be the way to create my own endings. To find the magic, the happy and exciting places. Throughout my early education, notebooks were filled with stories of faraway places. Of witches and vampires, or knights and dragons. It wasn’t until 9th grade English that my writing started to take a turn for the better. Because that was the year the I had Mr. Wolgemuth as a teacher. Any kid who wanted to do well in school would say that he was a great teacher. I think of him as the teacher would lifted us from the bindings of writing. The one who pointed out that the coveted 5 paragraph essay would be obsolete in the years after high school. That we were practiced enough already that it was time to start breaking the rules of writing. Of all my highs school teachers, he is the one that developed my writing the most. A large part of that was because he was the first teacher who ever told me off. For a long time before freshmen year, I was pessimistic. The glass was only ever half empty and I always searched for the unpleasant endings. He’s one of those teachers that just force you to respect them. That’s probably why even though he graded hard and his course was demanding, I took another two classes taught by him.
Now my writing takes influences from all three classes. And now I continue to look forward in my learning. Because it’s my choice to. My writing and reading are primarily influenced by these two people in my earlier life. Thanks to them, I have a passion that pushes me forward to expand my views of the world and always keeps things interesting. There is a good chance that my future career won’t involve more than writing reports and stating the facts, but that doesn’t mean that I will cease writing and reading for my own creative purposes. Stories will always continue to be written, whether they are typed out or stored in my head.
There isn’t one moment that I can single out from the others. Who I am today as a writer and as a reader are impacted from countless events and people. These two events only make up a small portion of my experience. I write to remember and to forget. I write to find the motivation to keep going. I paint pictures and stories in my head to make things interesting or I find the creativity in the boring. Why do I write, I wonder? When I have so much to say about the world, why do I keep to myself for the majority of the time? Maybe one day I’ll write out the answer.