Just One More Chapter

Playtime was a serious deal for me; if a playmate ever got the story line or dialogue wrong, I was sure to let them know. My mom was no exception to the rule, despite her long-term withering sickness of which I had little understanding. From the time I could comprehend a story line I’d nestle in beside her on the big, blanket laden bed with fistfuls of Littlest Pet Shop animals, Beanie Babies and plastic barns. “No Mommy, horseys don’t do it like that!” I would say as her bony arm trembled, making her horsey trot next to mine. With gratitude I can now say that as I exercised and expanded my story writing passion through the years, my mother has exercised and grown those bony arms and gone on to support my selective storytelling fixation.

My stories transferred from plastic animals to composition notebooks in the third grade. Despite the complete lack of paragraph indentations, and letters so wiggly that even I could hardly read them, I flourished. That is, until my third grade teacher wrote in big red letters in my journal: “Please don’t write so much. I don’t have time to read it.” So I stopped. Discouraged, my story-writing discontinued.

However, my creativity burst from its seams two years later when my ten-year-old bucktoothed self wrote a thirty-one page story when given a four-page assignment. As the staples stacked up crookedly on sheets of lined paper, my classmates’ intrigue accumulated into fascination. So much so that even my teacher recognized the blooming writer harbored within me. I read my story to the class, and soon after won my first writing competition – for which there was a great deal of screaming and crying upon opening the congratulatory letter – and everything changed.

I began writing novels. Spiral notebooks spiraling upward into piles of stories and a six-book series. Cover to cover I would fly through the pages, wheels turning in my head, cramps in my left hand begging me to slow down. I must confess taking a typing class in middle school was serious salvation to my illegible handwriting.

Pumping out seventy-five words per minute, be it school year or summer vacation, I write, then I write some more.I have learned to befriend the fiery pain my left shoulder succumbs to when I hunch over the well-worn keys of my laptop for too long. I do, however, find that pain less agonizing than being away from my computer. There is no sicker feeling than being plagued by an untold story pulling at my earth, begging my fingers to serve as their vessel. I contain galaxies and populations all yet to be discovered, and that is far too much pressure to let buildup for too long without release. Writing is my happy place.

The only part that feels like work to me is when I must hunker down next to the printer, re-feeding it until it finally sighs with relief. I wrestle binder clips over the stacks of warm pages before heaving another story onto my parents’ work desks with a thud. They read, they grin, I smile and grow more confident whenever we discuss my unraveling ideas and the potential I have cultivated. With strength and pride my mom can now set down the latest binder clipped book and pull me in for a hug and remind me of the times I would tell her “No mommy, horseys don’t do it like that”.

I have known since before I could spell that, as Maya Angelou said, there is no greater agony than being stuffed to the brim with ideas, characters and plot twists, and not letting them out. There would be no greater reward in my life than to take this nurtured adoration of mine and sculpt it into novels that consume my readers with baggy-eyed late nights specked with extra cups of black coffee and the promise of ‘just one more chapter’. I believe to the marrow of my bones that I was born to write so that others could fall in love with books again.

This is my dream; to entertain, to inspire, and to bring new breath to books in a world that has succumbed to phones and television screens. For many years I have spent my time preparing for the day my dream is granted. I am ready now. The best of me is yet to come, my bestsellers still unwritten. Someday my untold stories will be told, please let me write them for you.

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