I’ve written enough partial manuscripts that if you combined the pages, they would be comparable to the length of the entire Harry Potter series. I had a sticky note on my vanity mirror in high school: PUBLISH FIRST NOVEL BY AGE 21 which genuinely felt realistic. I knew Mary Shelley came up with Frankenstein when she was nineteen (she was also married and with child by that point but that’s a whole other issue). Bret Easton Ellis was writing promiscuous, hilarious satire in his early twenties and then there was Helen Keller – published by twelve years old while also being deaf and blind. At fifteen, I was reading shit like The Picture of Dorian Gray and As I Lay Dying, forcing literary culture down my own throat in my small hometown where everyone looked and acted like each other. I thought for sure I’d be seasoned enough to pump out a best seller at a young age but I didn’t factor in my refusal to commit to anything or the amount of brain cells I was about to obliterate between the ages of seventeen and twenty.
In kindergarten I wrote a poem for aliens, asking them in an ABCB rhyme scheme to kidnap my sister. I still remember the embarrassment I felt when my grandma read it and she almost cried tears of laughter out of pure, loving amusement. After she died almost twenty years later, I found my plea to aliens tucked in a folder along with an extensive archive of my childhood work. This folder held a moving sonnet dedicated to the VFW that I’d written when I was around six or seven after spending an afternoon there with my step-grandpa, helping him peel back pull tabs. I also discovered a pretty dark poem that I’d written to my grandma when I was young, telling her that if she ever died then I’d have to die too because I’m not really alive in a life without you. (I stand by what I said, though. Her presence was replaced with a big, aching void in my body.) As I entered my teen years, my content shifted from poetry to thoughtful letters, begging my parents for permission to drive to Minneapolis on a school night to see Mac Miller perform and angsty journal entries cursing them for not letting me go.
Obviously by the time I turned twenty one, there was no published novel and barely any more angsty journal entries. Now at twenty five, I am torn between my stints of consistent, confident writing and the weeks where I truly believe that I’m not talented enough and who do I think I am sharing all of my feelings, thoughts, and opinions as if anybody cares? My moments of inspiration come as quickly as they go and if I don’t capture them at the right moment, I end up convincing myself it was a stupid idea. It’s always been easy for me to write brief anecdotes about my life to publish on this website. It’s even been therapeutic. But the thought of creating a cohesive blueprint of my experiences in the form of a book? That fills me with an anxiety that I’m learning to navigate. So, until I figure it out, I’m going to continue publicly workshopping my thoughts here. Thank you for giving these words an audience.