The Birth of an Author
Before I found a love of writing, my views on the subject were very narrow. I believed that writers were amazingly gifted people and that most authors were scholarly adults. I never thought a child or a teenager like myself could ever write a book, but that was until I met a group of amazing girls at a youth camp.
Working at a youth camp was an amazing experience. I enjoyed every bit of it, but my favorite times were the late nights in the cabins. Those were the times when I really connected to the girls I was ministering too. I was there to pour my heart and soul into them, only hoping they would understand why I came back to teach and lead them every summer.
One week during my first year as a youth leader, I discovered a truth about writing. Surprisingly, it sprung from taking care of children. Even though I came to minister to them, they somehow wound up ministering to me. After that, a passion was born, and it all started with a bedtime story.
“Tell us a story” the girls said as they clambered into their wooden bunks. Eight pairs of eyes stared back at me.
“Alright.” I said, watching as they giggled and snuggled into soft blankets. I thought for a moment. A story? I racked my brain for anything exciting to tell. Slowly, something in the depths of my mind sparked and came to life.
“Whoosh! A tree branch lashed Zarin’s arm. The leaves left a stinging scratch on her olive-colored skin. A dusky sky stared down on a forest touched by autumn. Zarin was running. Her coffee-colored hair flew out behind her; wisps of it catching on passing tree branches. Suddenly, Zarin tripped, her body plummeting to the leafy forest floor. Fear gripped her heart as dark figures emerged from the shelter of the trees; their hands clutching dull black swords.” I watched all the girls take in my words. Silence.
“You should write a book. You have to write a book!” Lauren said, shattering the silence. Her big brown eyes told me she was sincere.
“You should! I would buy it.” The rest of the girls clamored.
“Is there more?” Lauren asked.
“Yes! Keep going? What happens next?” Ashlyn begged.
“Well, Zarin isn’t human.” I said adding on to the suspense. I kept building on to the story. Everything I said made their eyes widen in surprise.
“Is she going to die?” Madeline asked.
“She can’t die. We just met her.” Nika added. The bedtime story stretched on until all of them seemed to be lost in a mystical world I named Elestrian. I settled the story on a cliffhanger, telling each of them it was time to sleep.
“What? But you can’t end it there? What happens to Zarin?” They all pleaded with me to go on.
“You will have to find out tomorrow.” I said and began to zip up my sleeping bag. They protested for several minutes, but soon all was quiet.
In the darkness of the cabin, I was the only one who wasn’t asleep. I was thinking. Me, write a book? The idea was huge. All those pages and words? As I pondered this potential project, I recalled one of my camper’s sentences, “You have to write a book.” Her eyes and voice had been so honest. The way all of them had looked at me told me that maybe this tiny story could be something greater. That’s when I felt inspired. I would write it for them I decided. No matter what, I wanted them to have that book, and I was going to be the one to write it.
As I look back on my prior experiences, I can see just how much people have sponsored me and how their actions triggered my transformation. As I reflect on that night, the night when eight girls inspired me to write fantasy, I can see all their beautiful shining faces, and all their darling little souls telling me that I must write. I have taken their advice and now I have a passion. In Deborah Brandt’s essay, “Sponsors of Literacy”, Deborah writes “…The ideological pressure of sponsors affects many private aspects of finished texts.” (Brandt, 1998)
My writings, finished and unfinished, were sponsored by people and the impact they made on my life was extremely positive. Now I believe that anyone can write a book, no matter how old or scholarly you are. When those girls told me that I had to write a book, I found a passion. Their words meant so much to me because they were honestly interested in what I had to say. Deep down, I hoped this novel would be the best book they would ever read. That made me want to write all the time and read countless other books for inspiration so that my novel would become great.
I don’t think I would be so passionate about writing and reading today if those girls hadn’t inspired me. Because of that experience, my inner author was born.
Brandt, Deborah “Sponsors of Literacy.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 49, no.2, May 1998, pp. 165-185