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My journey to becoming a writer began when I was about eleven years old. I was a girl, a loner, struggling with being an outsider due to my hearing disability and difficulties with communication (I spoke funny and didn’t always hear what people said even though I wore hearing aids). As a result, I spent a lot of time in imaginary worlds and with my imaginary friends. At times, however, this proved dangerous.
An example: A year or so earlier, I was in my basement where I had set up a line of chairs. I was pretending to be Wonder Woman, and wanted to see how far I could jump (or how many chairs I could clear). My imaginary friends kept edging me on, “More! More! Make it longer!” Of course, I didn’t want to look like a poor sport, I added a kiddie rocking chair at the end, and proceeded to jump.
Well, I didn’t make it. In fact, that rocking chair was my undoing as I landed on top of it, straddling it.
I think you get the idea.
I ended up in the ER that evening, and for the next two or three weeks, using the bathroom and stairs were challenging (not to mention, painful!) at best.
Let’s move forward to when I was about eleven years old. My best friend, Melanie (a feisty red-head who didn’t mind my weird lisp and pronunciations) challenged me and a few other classmates to see who could write the “scariest” story. So, I sat down and wrote about a girl who accepted a dare to enter a haunted house where she’d discovered a decapitated head in the fridge. I no longer remember if that girl managed to get out of the house so I’ll just leave it to my imagination. Anyway, what I can clearly remember was how they all reacted when they read my story. One was totally grossed out by the details, others either squealed or shuttered. I’d loved every reaction.
I then realized that with writing, I could “act” out my imagination without harming myself (or anyone else!). But most of all, after writing that story I felt like I had found something I could be good at. Writing was something I could excel in and not be looked down on as “odd” or as the girl “who spoke funny.”
Writing also gave me that guilty pleasure of making people squirm.