When I was home for Thanksgiving last November, I found my old journals. Seven of them, filled from cover to cover, documenting my comings and goings from sixth grade all the way through my junior year of college.
I was surprised because the truth is, while I remember keeping journals sporadically, I don’t remember being compulsive about it.
But apparently I was.
Words have been a part of my life for nearly all of my 30 years. The way my mom tells it, I was talking in complete sentences by my first birthday. Since I was her first, it never really occurred to her that it wasn’t normal for a one-year-old to be able to carry on conversations like an adult. But I did.
I think that, as is often the case, along with my freakishly early grasp of the English language, my writer’s roots are found in my reader’s soul.
I read early, and I read often. At first it was with my mom and dad. I would sit in their laps and listen as they read to me. As my sisters came along they joined the nightly tradition, until there were five of us cuddled, night after night, in my parents’ big bed, sharing books, stories and words.
And when I learned to read (or, rather, taught myself how to read), I would lay by myself for hours, surrounded by books. I made friends with the Baby Sitter’s Club, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, grew up with Judy Blume’s incomparable female characters, and joined Jessica and Elizabeth in Sweet Valley.
I read before school, after school, during recess, and when I could manage it, during class when I probably should’ve been paying attention to things like math and science.
But math and science were never for me.
For me, it was words and it was stories.
I never took a math or a science class after eleventh grade, but I took advanced English classes where I read classics from Dickens to Austen to Kate Chopin, immersed myself in the three books of Dante’s Divine Comedy, and learned how to read with a critical eye and an open mind.
And when I wasn’t reading books for school, I was reading books for me. My bookshelves at home overflowed with the romance novels I’d discovered during my junior year of high school and read voraciously.
All through college and law school it was those romance novels that I turned to when I needed a break from textbooks and professors. The stories were a balm to my introverted soul during those amazing and turbulent years.
Once the textbooks were closed and the bar was passed and my full-time job began, I decided to write a book of my own. So I put pen to paper, and I started to plan. While my mind spun characters and stories faster than I could get everything on paper, the actual writing of the book proved much harder than I thought it would be.
I needed to stretch my writer’s muscles before I dove in again, so last year, continuing in the tradition of those seven journals that now live on the shelves in my bedroom, my blog was born. It seemed that before I could write someone else’s story, I had to learn how to write my own.
And learn I have.
Each day I sit at my computer and write. Sometimes the words are good and sometimes they’re awful, but they are words, and they’re mine. My way of sharing pieces of my heart and soul with the world. With myself.
Little by little over the past year, I’ve found my voice.
And that voice, as it turns out, has quite a bit to say.
There are stories inside of me waiting to be told.
And I am going to write them.
Samantha is a lawyer, runner and pop-culture junkie living in the suburbs of New York City. She drags herself out of bed to run at dawn, does all her writing at work, and spends her nights in front of the TV with her equally television-addicted husband.
Samantha’s Blog :
This Heart of Mine - http://samanthabmerel.blogspot.com/
Find her on Twitter - https://twitter.com/sbrinnmerel
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