born to write

December 19, 2008
By Meghan Morrison, Palatine, IL

“I was born to dance. It is said that I didn’t fall out of my mother’s womb; I danced out, my tiny body wriggling and flailing like a wild woman.” These lines come from the first page of a book that isn’t a New York Times best-seller or a selection from Oprah’s Book Club. In fact, fewer than 50 copies of this book exist worldwide, and perhaps even fewer people than that have read these lines. But that doesn’t matter because these thirty words are mine; they begin my novel, Deaf Girls Don’t Dance.
Unlike my realistic but still fictional narrator, Margaret, I was not born to dance. I was born to write. Ever since my chubby five-year-old fingers first pressed pencil to paper, I’ve been hooked. My career as an author began in first grade when I wrote and illustrated a “book” about sherbs, fictional sherbet-loving creatures. Although my first authorial endeavor did not have immediate success, I didn’t give up. Throughout elementary school and junior high I spent the free time I wasn’t using for reading to write skits, screenplays, and short stories. By the time sophomore year rolled around, I had laid plans for my greatest masterpiece yet: a full-length, edited, self-published novel.

The assignment, given the first week of school: with a mentor’s guidance, conduct research and then create an original work to be presented at the Gifted Expo in May. I knew my project the moment its title popped into my head: Deaf Girls Don’t Dance. After asking my seventh grade English teacher to mentor, I began poring over library books on deafness and developing a plot outline.

I had to spend a minimum of an hour a day on my project, but a writer is slave to no clock. Inspiration comes in short bursts for me, so I spent many a night staring blankly at the computer screen, hoping beyond hope that something would come to my mind so I could meet my daily goal. When an idea came, my fingers typed frantically, rushing to get my words out before I lost them. If my clock read 4:30 a.m. by the time I was finished, so be it. The temporary discomfort from sleep deprivation is nothing compared to the lasting pride in finishing a chapter, and eventually, a book.

The deep sense of accomplishment I feel from writing and publishing my book are nothing compared to my expectations for the future. Now that I have one novel under my belt, I am confident that I will be successful as an author in the future. After writing a novel considered almost autobiographical in many ways, I am compelled to expand my horizons and write more creative fiction while continuing to use my life experiences as inspiration.
As I continue reading, I develop new ideas for writing. Deaf Girls Don’t Dance tells a unique story, but after reading books by well-known authors like Fitzgerald and Wharton, I want to do more than tell stories. I want to study English to perfect my craft and write books infused with beautiful imagery, riveting symbolism and subtle but strong themes, books future high school English teachers will use in their classes.
I know my goal sounds impossible, but I want to go down in history as a great author of the twenty-first century. If publishing my first book at 16 isn’t enough to make history remember me, I will have to improve my skill as my career progresses. Writing only leads to more writing, and my strength comes from the confidence I gained through writing my first novel.

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