If you are anything like me when it comes to this stuff, it feels really hard to write about myself. Whether it’s a resume update, a simple bio, or an entire blog post, it forces me to stop and think: Who am I? And sometimes, the answer can be elusive, or worse, uncomfortable.
So here it is–here is who I think I am. For today, at least.
I’m a long-time reader and writer of fiction. My favorite stories have magic and a mystery in them, preferably with some dark, Gothic elements. I’ve read a lot of the curated “classics,” thanks to school and college, and I tried very hard to take some courses that would expose me to literature outside of the traditional canon (there is still so much for me to read and learn). I mostly write what would be considered General Fiction, YA, Romance, and Children’s. I think these genres are doing a lot of important work in the world. As for writing General Fiction, I prefer to make things up because it’s just how my brain works. I love talking about reading with other readers and writing with other writers. And I truly believe if you want to change the world, you can start by reading a book.
Writing-wise, I’ve been writing and doodling stories for as long as I remember having a consciousness. My mom, being the proud parent she is, has kept practically everything I ever wrote and I can look back at my very first stories, Alex the Cat, with a kind of cringey nostalgia.
I spent time in high-school and the early part of college convinced I was going to go into film and become a director and tell stories visually. Then I realized I enjoy playing god in stories and the only way I was going to be able to control every little detail was to write. So, being lucky enough to head back to college, I studied English for my BA. And being even luckier, I was able to immediately head to graduate school where I spent three years working on developing my fiction-writing muscles with peers under some wonderful guidance from professors to earn my MFA. And then a deluge of “life” events happened within the span of a few months, and I set being a writer and a reader aside for years.
Years! Years where I didn’t write anything except emails and read, maybe, a book a year. It is a horrifying thought to me now. What was I doing? Some important things, sure, like the privilege of becoming a mother, but also some distracting things, too. It was time to get back on track of living up to who I think I am, and more importantly, who I wanted to be. Enter: challenging myself to read 100 books per year and start telling everyone I knew I was writing a book.
The telling everyone I knew I was writing a book was the sneakiest thing I did to myself. It meant my friends and family kept asking about it, asking to read it, and offering whatever help they could provide. So I had to have something to talk about, I had to give them copies of drafted chapters, and most surprisingly, I ended up with a list I keep, to this day, above my writing desk with the names of people I care about that believe in me. I am super fortunate that this list continues to grow. And every time I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, I can look at that list and remember that all of those people are cheering me on.
So here I am! I’m still challenging myself to read ridiculous amounts of books and still cranking out stories that make me happy. And while I might need to check in daily to answer that question of, “Who am I?” whatever answer I come up with, I’m excited to spend the day with her.