I knew I wanted to be a writer from a very young age. I started out with poetry around age eight and completed two volumes of poetry...including some collaborations with my sister...by the time I reached my teenage years.
Growing up in such a strict environment didn't always allow me to blossom and by the time I was a teenager I had become an extremely shy, introverted girl. While I excelled in anything academic, socially I was invisible in the hallways of my school. I spent a lot of time in the library and poured over books like I had uncovered some long lost treasure.
This was about the same time I discovered mythology and would spent my lunch time pouring over the adventures of Hercules and the power of Zeus. My favorite stories came from the Greeks and the Romans so it was no surprise to me when I decided one day to start researching those ancient tales. I wanted to contrast and compare the different mythological characters I came across. I even thought about writing a children's book where you could look up one hero's name and discover if they were called something different in another culture.
After months of research I had managed to fill up several notebooks with information and I was quite proud of my fledgling efforts to become a nonfiction writer. I thought my mother would be proud as well because she was known for her extensive research of country and western artists. My mother had several notebooks filled with the words of her favorite songs and tidbits of information on the top country performers of her generation so I felt she knew what it meant to love the thrill of the hunt for knowledge.
Sadly, I was wrong.
I can remember one hot summer day when Mother was rocking on the front porch swing. I was about thirteen at the time and decided to share my love of mythology with Mother by showing her my research notebooks. To say my mother wasn't happy with what she considered a waste of paper and a good pencil would be an understatement. She thought it was a foolish endeavor and forced me to stand in front of her while I tore up every page of my notebooks. No amount of begging or tears could save all my hard work and I left my dreams of becoming a nonfiction writer on the floor that day.
But over the years I have discovered many surprising things about myself. One thing I've discovered is that while I thought my dream of writing nonfiction was shattered, it was just lying dormant until the day I felt strong enough to pick up my pencil again and write. Last year I even began researching an idea my sister told me about and that nudge of encouragement from her has blossomed into a story recently submitted to my publisher. My editor is very excited about it so I will cross my fingers and hope for the best.
Either way, I feel like I have taught my younger self a valuable lesson. There will always be people in the world...even those closest to you...who might strive to shatter your dreams and laugh as those dreams lie in shards upon the floor. But it's what you do in those low moments which gives the world a glimpse of the writer you have yet to become. I could have let my mother's indifference destroy my love of writing.
I chose to follow a different path...