I was 6 or 7 when I knew the only thing that gave me blissful, tummy fluttering excitement was making stories. I loved when the teacher said we were going to write a story in class, because I imagined robots fighting, thieves and ninjas sneaking, heroes flying and me jumping around in it all, a child with the power – the power of storytelling. I loved it so much that when I got home, and on many other days, I would pull out an artist’s desk that my mother owned – I never knew why – and start drawing my own comics. This is a habit I now wish I had continued.
I knew for sure when I took a personality quiz designed to pick the most suitable careers for those who answered and the top answer was author. I couldn’t have been more proud if I had finished my first book then.
I knew when I read dozens of books each month from the local library. Yes, they still existed then. I devoured kids stories, and I struggled with novels but being advanced made my appetite larger and me more accomplished. Hitchhiker’s Guide, The Discworld series, Stephen King… I tackled them all while I still took soggy crisp sandwiches to school.
Unfortunately, I lacked the conviction to stand up for my belief and the drive to do anything for it. I wavered, because those around me told me I had to choose a regular career, a 9-5 existence to support myself and grow a family, and I believed them more because I trusted them – they were adults, their job was to help me – but like adults always do, they were telling me what was right for their lives, for their era, and I had no idea I could be so much more if I had done what I wanted all along, shaped myself for the world coming not the world as it was then.
So I only dabbled in writing at high school, and only started a novel at university. Now the novel is finished, about to be published, and I see how the world is, I know what I can do, and I am a writer. Still, I will always mourn the artist I could have been…