When I was in middle school, I discovered my love for writing. Specifically, in eighth grade, we were given an assignment in English class — we had to change the ending to one of our favorite books. At the time, I was reading the Harry Potter books, which since then, I hadn't gotten a chance to pick up again. I had just finished the third book when she assigned this task, and so, I thought, Why don't I change the ending to this book? And I did, I added my own character. I named her Alexa, which is coincidentally a shortened version of my own name, Alexandra.
We had to peer edit our friends papers. I ended up switching papers with by far the smartest student in my grade. He was a great writer, he was amazing a math, he was the perfect student. I remember that he had chosen to respond to the Hobbit. He, of course, had read all seven Harry Potter books, multiple times. My narrative was thirteen pages long, double-spaced, with Times New Roman font. I ended up using different points of view, and changing the story's ending completely. When this star student read my paper, he didn't find any mistakes. In fact, his only comment was that I should have written more, for I ended on a pretty big cliffhanger. That made me realize that, perhaps, I had a knack for writing. Since then, whenever I am assigned a writing assignment in English class, I get excited and nostalgic.
Back in eighth grade, 13 pages was pretty long. Nevertheless, my teacher asked me to read it in front of the class. After standing before the class for what felt like hours, feverishly reading my narrative and routinely looking up at my audience to make sure that they were engaged, I got to the cliffhanger. Once I read the last line of my paper, I distinctly remember the thrill, the heart rush, that I felt when I looked up to see every member of my class, including my teacher, with their eyes glued to me. It seemed as though they were urging me to go on, begging me to find some resolution to my characters dilemma.
Since eighth grade, I haven't gotten any other assignment like that. Nevertheless, here I am, writing nostalgically about that fictional writing assignment. There is something that can only be described as magnificent about writing. I find it utterly amazing that, by writing a few words on a page, one can transport an audience to a different world. By just writing a few random words in the correct order, you can make your audience feel so many different emotions, ranging from happy to sad to angry to nostalgic.
Writing has helped me gain confidence in myself. When I was a little girl, confidence was never an issue for me. I was that baby in the supermarket that would yell to my mother to turn around because somebody didn't wave at me. I was often called upon in class to answer questions and to read after raising my hand so high that my muscles were straining.
I feel that there is some sort of friendship between writing and me. Writing has helped me in so many different ways, and so I can't even begin to imagine my life without writing in it. I love to write anything, whether it's a poem, a narrative, or even, dare I say it, a boring research paper. Writing doesn't just transport people to different worlds — it can be an escape.
Around the same time that I discovered my knack for writing, I was having friend problems. Writing down my thoughts on anything, whether it was how hot the school was or how good my lunch was, allowed me to momentarily escape from these issues. Reading had the same effect on me. I started to read more books in eighth grade as well. I found it more mind blowing that I could write a story that could take people and myself included to a different world than reading somebody else's new world.
I loved reading, I still do. Reading is less work on my end, and some of the storylines and fictional worlds that authors come up with are truly inspiring. Reading the Percy Jackson books, the fictional story about teenage Greek demigods, was also one of my temporary escapes. I have read every single book regarding mythology by Rick Riordan, simply because I loved these books so much. Not only are these books slightly educational, giving me information on the mythological theocracies of the Greeks, Romans, and Norse, but they were fun to read. The way that this author who wrote the books, which at the time was directed towards my age group, allowed me to relate to the characters and understand what was going on was amazing. I aspire to be that good of a writer someday.
Though I have never written my own book, I've certainly written many papers and short stories. I find the magnificence of escaping in the words to be not only relaxing, but suspenseful. To most, this middle school writing assignment is probably long forgotten, but I have a strong feeling that I'll never forget it.