I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love books. Some of my greatest memories are of my mom and dad reading to me as a child–everything from Dr. Seuss and Mercer Meyer to the classics like Treasure Island or The Swiss Family Robinson. One of my favorite books growing up was The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, though admittedly I enjoyed the Disney version even more. I was obsessed with the idea of the Headless Horseman. It both such a scary and cool character in my eyes. My parents knew I loved it and while we lived in New York state they took me to North Terrytown, the town which much of Sleepy Hollow was based on, for Halloween and to see Sleepy Hollow for myself. There was even a guy dressed as the Headless Horseman riding around.
And so as long as I can remember, I’ve been driven by stories. When other kids were playing baseball during the summer, I spent the days in the backyard creating fantastic stories using GI Joes and Legos, my mom’s flowerbed often standing in as the jungle. I always looked forward to library time at school. I was obsessed with Choose-Your Own Adventure and Encyclopedia Brown books. My friend and I used to try to come up with our own movie ideas.
In high school I took a creative writing class. It was the first time since elementary school I had tried to actually write out a story. And while I enjoyed it immensely, my writing needed work. I loved it, but found myself distracted for years afterwords in pursuit of college and graduate degrees. Always looking ahead to write “when I have time.”. The time never came because I never made room for it.
But lately I have been. I’ve been making a lot of changes in my life, reorganizing my priorities, and have decided that writing is going back to the top of the list. I am 31 and still I can’t shake it. I’m sure what I have been writing so far is terrible, but you only get better through hard work and practice.
Stories come from all around. They shape how we see the world. They connect us. They drive us forward.