Oh, For The Love of Words!

It’s pretty difficult for me to pinpoint when exactly my love affair with the written word began, but I can safely say that it must have begun at birth, possibly before. My mother, an avid bookworm in her day, must have passed the obsession to me. There is hardly a time that I cannot recall having a book with me whenever I went.It embarrasses me to say that I was not popular as a child. In a sea full of students, my brains were mistaken for average, and I was easily lost in the crowd. My wild imagination and proud storytelling didn’t exactly ‘fly’ with my teachers, who often sent me to the principal’s office for lying about things that didn’t happen to me (Wild imagination was an understatement).  My peers took me for a geek, a loser, and a bookworm, which are all titles I proudly wear today. What they didn’t understand was that I was living in two different worlds. One world, the one of my physical presence, was that of misunderstanding and doubt, while the other world, the one I much more preferred, was that of magic, hope and beauty. And, sometimes, the lines between my two worlds blurred, until I could not tell fact from fiction. It was a known fact around my elementary school campus that I was a bit of a freak when it came to the amount that I read. It was a title I did not hold proudly, in fact, I tried to run from it. I’ve learned to wear it with pride, for when I look at the lives of those with a less vivid imagination than my own, I cannot help but smile at where my mind has brought.

The true, gripping love began with the ‘Alice’ series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. My fourth grade teacher had a book sale in our classroom once a month, in which we could pick any book in the classroom and purchase it for fifty cents a dream come true for bookworms like myself. When it was my turn to pick a book, I scavenged the shelves, waiting for my next read to pop out and fall into my arms, ready to be loved. There, in the back of a box containing many unworthy books, was The Agony of Alice. Something about the title pulled me in, and the cover image, of an awkward, red-headed teenager, pulling a pair or oversized jeans on in what looked like a shopping mall dressing room, caught my attention. I briskly walked up to my teacher’s desk, placed the fifty cents in his hand, and returned to my desk, hugging the book close to my chest all the while. The Agony of Alice told a story of a girl who very well could have been me. Awkward, timid, and without many friends, she tries to make the best of the fact that she doesn’t fit in. I laughed with her, I cried with her, and I felt every emotion as though it were my own. It was then, at the age of nine, that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to write, and by doing so, I wanted to create magic for every reader the way that Naylor had done for me with the ‘Alice’ series. I grew up with Alice, holding her hand through every step of her life and mine, and when the series ended, I felt a gaping hole in my chest for months after.

Now, as a semi grown adult, still struggling to figure out my place in the world, both as a writer and as a somewhat average twenty-one year old (although average is a relative term), the remains of my first love, my first (to coin a term) ‘bookish crush’ has made all the difference. I continue to feel, as I did at such a young age, the beauty of every word that I drink in to my being. Writing is about so much more than the love for the written word. It is not an ‘average’ thing, this writing world. It is a lifestyle, it’s a way of being. Writing is who I am, and the relationship I have with it is one that grows more into beauty with every passing day. If every person in the world had as much love and passion for something as I do for writing, the world would be a much more beautiful place.

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About leighesther

​​​​​​Leigh Hershkovich's writing career began almost at infancy. Born and raised in The City By The Bay, Leigh was never seen without a pen and paper by her side, and was never without a story to share. With her vivid imagination and sharp writing tactics, Leigh has taken the world by storm twice over. Now, with her debut novel Shattered Illusions, readers will get a first time glimpse into her first full fiction attempt. ​ An avid reader, accomplished pianist, passionate scholar of language and the arts, Leigh currently resides in New York with her imagination.

5 thoughts on “Oh, For The Love of Words!

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that most writers had active (and possibly “too active”) fantasy lives in their unpopular youth. We do tend to stare out windows a lot.

  2. My biological mother is supposed to be a writer or editor of some sort, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if there was a genetic basis for bibliomania. Now to make sure it gets passed on to the next generation….

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