Everyone has a story. Mine starts with my mom. For as long as I’ve known my mom, her love of reading is what makes her stand out. It's my favorite thing about her. My earliest memories of my mom include seeing her with Scottish Romance novels and reading me Disney fairy-tales when I couldn’t yet read. It was her love of reading that led to my interest, and eventual passion, for reading as well. Reading is the foundation of my relationship with my mom. She's the Lorelai to my Rory.
From a young age I was always intrigued by picture books and how the words on the page typically described what was illustrated in the image, however, I never quite liked how once I saw the image, it always seemed to remain in my brain whenever I thought of a particular book. I always thought that it would be interesting to see what my imagination would create, had the picture not been on the page to help children understand what was going on. This led to me trying to cover any images in books with my hand, or a piece of paper, so I could see what I wanted to see instead of the illustrator’s image.
When I was first introduced to chapter books, probably around second grade, I fell in love with them. The Magic Tree House books, by Mary Pope Osborne, were the first books in a series of chapter books that I read. It’s from here that my relationship with books became a little rocky.
All my life I never needed to have glasses. I could see perfectly fine. 20/20. After I turned nine years old, my eye doctor told me I needed to have reading glasses. Now at this time, it was the early 2000s, no one in my elementary school wanted to be seen with glasses. Only three other kids in my grade had, and wore, glasses. I didn’t want to wear them. I was already one of the least popular kids in my grade, I didn’t like attention, and I was easily embarrassed. Now fourth grade was a huge deal when it came to being able to read because of the NYS English Language Arts exams. We read a lot and I refused to wear my glasses. I would go home and lie to my parents about wearing them because I felt like everyone was staring at me and I didn’t want to be a freak. This backfired and my parents told my teacher, who then would make sure I wore them whenever we had to practice reading for our exams.
This wouldn’t be so bad if the most popular girl in my grade hadn’t felt the nerve to start bullying me for wearing glasses. She would verbally throw insults my way for wearing glasses, which never made sense to me because she wore them too. My best friend would step in and defend me whenever he could, but I would always go home and complain to my mom about what this girl said to me.
Due to my unwillingness to wear glasses only when I was reading, I was then told that I needed to wear them 24/7.
A year later, while still being verbally bullied by multiple students, I rediscovered my passion for reading when I accidentally stumbled upon Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events novels. A friend of mine decided that we should have a competition to see who could read them all first (keep in mind that Lemony Snicket was still releasing them at this time). As we got older the books we chose to read changed, and this competition was soon forgotten. I would like to point out though that in the end, I finally finished all the books in A Series of Unfortunate Events.
As I entered high school, I found that I quickly bonded with my English teachers over a newfound love for William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and YA novels. When I was fifteen I, once again accidentally, stumbled across The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and fell in love. I believe that it was meant to be that I found this series because at the time, I was the same age as Clary in the books, and to me, it was like I was going on the Shadowhunter journey alongside her, Jace, Simon, Alec, Isabelle, and Magnus. To this day, borrowing City of Bones from my public library was probably the best life decision I have ever made. This series had made all the difference in the world to me.
This day was the day that I knew I was destined to become a writer. I wanted to be the next JK Rowling; to be able to create a world, unlike any other, just like Cassandra Clare and JK Rowling did. I felt that I had to create a place that other people, other lost souls, would want to go to to escape the struggles and stress of reality. This was my dream.
A few years ago I had the privilege of meeting Sarah Rees Brennan, author of the Demon’s Lexicon trilogy. She was so full of knowledge and wisdom about the YA world that I wanted to spend forever talking to her. She was, and still is, the first author that I have ever met. I told her how I never leave the house without a book, because you never known when you’re going to need one; we gushed over Jane Austen, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and of course The Shadowhunter Chronicles (The Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, Dark Artifices, etc.). When I mentioned to her that I had started several drafts of stories, pages that I hoped would eventually become novels, yet I never seemed to be able to finish them. My brain would just stop. The one piece of advice that she gave me that really stuck with me was something that Cassandra had told her about writer’s block. It went something along the lines of how writer’s block does not exist; all the block is, is your story, or whatever you are writing, it’s way of telling you that you screwed up somewhere in your previous text and that you can’t move forward until you go back and find what needs to be fixed. You hit a dead end, now turn around and go down another pathway.
Since meeting Sarah, I have now graduated college with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and am currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in American Studies. My dream job is to be able to work in an art museum while simultaneously being a YA author in my down time. I would love to travel the world and be able to write stories and adventure for my own characters; I want to develop alongside them. Other than the authors mentioned above, I am deeply inspired by Sasha Alsberg, whom I accidentally stumbled across while searching for Clary Fray hair tutorials on YouTube one day. (It’s kind of ironically funny that the reason I am where I am today is because of accidental crossings with books and authors.) I was amazed with her book vlogs, her channel in general, and her Instagram. Watching her journey has only inspired me more, now than ever, to pursue what I love. If Sasha can do it, then so can I.
I will turn my drafted pages in novels someday. Maybe what I had previously written isn’t supposed to be finished. Maybe it’s the Universe’s way of telling me to write something else, come back to that stuff later. My life motto: everything happens for a reason. Whenever I feel like giving up, I think of my motto, and somehow I know that everything will work out in the end. It always does.