Inspiration comes in a variety of ways for me. Sometimes I'm not even sure what inspires me, it just pops up at random like an advertisement on the internet. For my Scholastic Gold Key piece, Actions, Not Words, I was inspired to write this from a prompt my Creative Writing teacher gave me. It was a class assignment: write a personal essay of a moment when you've experienced love in a way you didn't expect. I thought it'd be fun to try not to include the word love at all, and let the emotion come through on its own. Resting my back against my headboard, laptop wobbling on my knees, and fingers waiting for words to come, nothing came. At that point, I wanted to bang my head on the keys, hoping the words were simply hiding from me, but the sudden jerk of motion would scramble them out. I sat there a few more hours, wanting to cry because it was due the next day. Great, it's 11:30pm and the only success I've had is putting my name and the date on the page. I glanced out my bedroom door, saw my mother walk out of her room, and that's when it hit me. Before I realized it, I wrote two pages, some of it ranting, some of it exaggerated, some of it simple and true and beautiful. Honestly, I don't even remember writing everything that I did; it just kind of showed up. I turned off my light, printed story lying beside me, and I wondered. I flicked the switch and began retyping. I cared so much for this piece that I didn't want to turn in a first draft, even though it wasn't going to be a portfolio piece. I fought myself, the words fought me; I was surprised there wasn't blood splattered on the walls of my tiny bedroom. The story condensed itself into something not even I recognized.