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.