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I can remember the first time I fell in love. I was eight.

There is something about feeling the weight of a pencil in your hand and a blank sheet of paper in front of you that is mesmerizing. I could stare at that blank sheet of paper for hours and be amused, because in my mind, it wasn't blank. No, I would be creating other worlds and tragedies and love stories in my head, picturing colorful words bursting from the paper in a psychadelic dream. The pencil lead would splash onto the paper, and the paper itself would arch its flat surface to meet the pencil lead faster. The words would come to life. Each word had its own unique sound, something that stuck in my mouth and symbolized something different in my head.I would relish in spelling out each word.

Oh, I was in love alright.

I attacked other books hungrily, spying for writing techniques. Despite being eight years old, I would devour text in an alarming rate. No book could satiate my appetite for the next. I learned from other authors' techniques and strategies. I was a sports fanatic studying each move of every player, whether or not they were a star. Each player had something to contribute to the team, and the overall effect was a beautifully orchestrated game. Without meaning to, I memorized my favorite lines as I read them repeatedly. I sifted through each and every word of all the books I read, searching for ones that made me stop reading and sit back with a stunned face, amazed at the profound meaning that they had.

I wanted to write like that.

I had dreams of publishing a book, distributing thousands of copies to equally hungry readers, and somehow watching their faces as they read those few, special lines that I had created to make them sit back and wonder. I wanted to make others think as much as I did.

People say that when you fall in love, the stars align and the world feels right, as if it is a complex puzzle clicking into place. It seems absolutely certain that you were meant to be with that person, and no one, no matter how hard they try, can replace them. Writing is my person. Oh, I've fallen in love with other boys--some of them requited, others not--but it's funny, because writing is the only one that has stayed with me since I was eight. An eight year relationship of pure love. Writing has never hurt me. It has allowed me to express what I did not know I had inside of me.

Books have made me cry, have left me wanting more,have left me sitting back and feeling intensely philosophical. I have mourned the end of books, flipping through the pages once I have finished, hoping that I had skipped a page, just to go back for one more taste. The Outsiders left me with an empty feeling inside, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower left me even emptier. Some books can pull so much out of you that when you finish, you feel as though you have put everything you have into those pages, and they become a part of you. I carry around my beat-up copy of The Outsiders everywhere. Yet writing never does that. Each word that I pluck out of myself, each part of my own mind that I am placing into the outside world, I feel more and more satisfied. Writing fills up the hunger, the immense appetitie, that reading creates. There is something very beautiful about that.

I don't know what my true calling in life is. Does anyone? I think we all pretend to know. It comforts us,coddles us, helps us feel less like we're loose magnets, attracting and repelling, in this world. We're all just floating around in nothingness, directed by something out there. If true callings are real, I would bet every book I own that my true calling is to write. Perhaps I will never crack into the Big League. It's a ridiculously tough field to even stick your foot in, and perhaps I will always be the sports fanatic, analyzing the players, and never out on the field myself.

Even if writing gets me nowhere with anyone else, it brings me miles and miles in all directions for myself. I grow as I write. My writing grows as its own entity as well. Writing will grow old with me. We'll be the couple on the front porch in white wicker rocking chairs, thick quilts laid precisely over our weak laps, smiling over a clear glass of lemonade, sharing our own secrets with splashes of ink.

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KatsK This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm
This is great, and so true. I feel the same way. I was reading HP in kindergarten, and checked out Oliver Twist in 4th grade (after a fight with an irritating librarian). You can write like that. Congrats on being published, by the way.
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