Writing and Fire This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

July 18, 2010
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It begins with a spark, an idea that becomes a dream, an obsession. I ran up the stairs to the living room, my tiny feet pitter-pattering on the freshly scrubbed stairs, and laughed giddily as I slid on my socks on the shiny wood floors. I found my dad in his favorite, beat up old leather chair, "Look daddy! Look! I wrote my autobiograhee!" I cried waving that mispronounced prized possession above my head. He took the yellow piece of paper with large childish scrawls all over in his hands and read aloud, "My Autobiography by Taylor. My name is Taylor and I am five years old." I stood there, tapping my foot waiting for the approval that five year olds adore. I climbed up into his lamp and bounced up and down saying, "Do you like it? Do you like it?" He smiled at me with one of those "kids are so silly smiles," and said, "It's wonderful. You know, you could be a famous writer one day." My eyes grew wide with the idea of being a writer, "I will be a writer," I stated. It wasn't a question or a "maybe" statement, right then and there, I decided I would be a writer.

After a spark, comes a flame that needs sustenance, and help growing. By eight years old, I began writing what could be nicely referred to as a "book" about my summer vacation in Italy. I wrote in a blue, leather-covered, book with creamy pages that were just waiting for me to write on them. With each word I wrote down, a growing passion for creating and describing the world around me intensified. It consumed me that summer, and I happily gave way to the urge of writing something about everything I could think of: my dog, school, music, family et cetera. Then I went back to school. I was hyper with excitement as my teacher announced that each Friday we would do creative writing on a certain topic. A week later, I waited anxiously, turning around in my seat to watch my teacher as my first essay, about my favorite place in the world (I chose Disneyland), was passed back. My teacher placed it face down. I took in a breath of excitement and turned it over, my heart racing, knowing that I would get an E for excellent, and found an A for acceptable. I slumped in my hard wooden seat, trying to keep the tears away as I shoved it into my desk. And just like that, the flame, which had been growing for several years now, had gone out.

Even when a flame has gone out, the embers still remain, waiting for something to create the flame once more. At ten, I had learned to adapt my writing to fit what the teachers at my school wanted, but I had no joy in it at all until I read that fateful short-story. It began on a fairly normal Sunday morning, my parents were sitting at the table, reading the newspaper and I was spinning absent mindedly in what I had dubbed "the spinny chair," looking for a book in what seemed to be shelf after shelf of books surrounding me. My eyes landed on a very thin book, one obviously meant for younger readers, it had a light yellow thread cover with the words Rachel Carson on the front. It was only forty pages or so about the life of Rachel Carson, renowned ecologist and environmental activist. One line in particular stood out to me, it basically said that by the age of 12, Rachel Carson wrote a story that was published in a children's magazine. Rachel Carson became my idol; when people asked me who my hero was I began a well-recited spiel how Carson had become a well-known author and scientist. Determined to live up to Carson's legacy, I began to write a story about a girl named Allison to send in for an American Girl Magazine contest. I never sent it in, as my mind was swept away with school and soccer practice, but the flame had been re-ignited by a dusty old book that no one had touched in years.

The flame continues to grow, strengthening with added fuel. This year writing has truly become part of my life both at school and at home. My teachers assign never-ending essays and document based questions, but somehow, I don't mind. I've learned to revel in the fresh blank page a Word document provides, to enjoy the satisfaction given by a well-written essay. Forced into reading "good literature" by my father, I read classics, which I have come to adore, that have become the sole comfort in my hectic life style. Steinbeck's East of Eden has become the epitome of fantastic writing for me. I try to emulate the Nobel Prize-winner's literature at every turn, attempting to create something that people might look back on one day with admiration.

Continuing on its journey, the flame will hopefully turn into a bonfire of success and literary contentment. As the years go by, writing will consume more of me. I see myself at Williams College in three years, sitting at a cheap college desk, a dictionary to my left and a fountain pen to my right, writing down my college experience and madly finishing essays at three in the morning. My dissertation on Elizabethan history will be full of creative writing that began its journey with an autobiography containing ten words. When I finish school, I hope to be visiting my parents at home, smiling fondly at the weathered piece of yellow paper.

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