All great things accomplished by man have been in the pursuit of sex…
Don’t know if the above is an actual quote or something my odd mind came up with. Even if it is a quote, I have no idea who wrote it so does not really matter (to me). Still, it does have a slight ring of truth, at least for me.
The first time I ever truly thought about writing as something more than just a hobby I did whenever the mood struck was because of a girl, technically because of two girls. It was the first away football game of my sophomore year in high school. Under normal circumstances I would have cared less, but since I was in marching band (I know a former band geek, really? No way. *massive sarcasm*) I had to go. To this day, I still don’t understand why I chose to sit next to her, much less strike up a conversation. Frankly, it went completely against my nature to do so, but for some reason I did.
Her name was Stephanie. She was a year below me. We practically had nothing in common. I was (still am a bit) a sarcastic, nerdy, smart ass with a pension for inappropriate observations and humor. She was a punkish, underachiever, artist who enjoyed the company of her close peers (and also possibly also enjoyed slight drug experimentation). The only similarity we seemed to share was our status as band geeks. Well, that and we were both avid bookworms. Maybe, that is the reason why I sat down next to her on the bus all those years ago.
She was reading a book and trying her best to ignore the chaos going on in the bus around her. Why with all the noise and chatter and randomness is this tiny girl trying to read a book? I was intrigued. I don’t remember what my opening line was but considering my level of “game” back then, I am amazed she ever spoke to me in the first place. Eventually we managed a rapport of sorts revolving around those few band bus trips. I was elated because I was talking to a girl and was a little less bored on the bus. Of course, it took awhile for me to figure out that nothing was going to happen between us (what can I say I was a dumb kid and an even dumber romantic at heart). However, Stephanie did manage to do to very important things for me.
First, during one of our odd conversations we talked about what we wanted to do/be when we grew up. I had never really thought about that before that moment. I knew I was going to go to college, but I had no clue what I would do with my life. By that point, I had really enjoyed our talks about the books we were reading and had read and the stories we would make up about our fellow band geeks. That was eye opening. At that moment, I knew that I wanted to be involved in writing somehow. I didn’t think I would ever be a novelist, but I thought that maybe I could write for a magazine or even work as an editor. I just felt that I wanted words to be part of my life.
Second, Steph introduced me to one of my favorite writers, Amelia Atwater–Rhodes. She is not the greatest writer ever to have been born, but she published her first book, In the Forests of the Night, when she was 14. I was amazed that the words I read had come from the mind and voice of such a young individual. It was not a fluke either, as Rhodes continues her writing to this day. I found this inspiring and for the first time thought that all the dumb little stories and random “voices” I had in my head could actually be put to paper and find a place in this world. I still have that naive hope even now.
So, my literary dreams did not necessarily begin with a girl, but they were given weight and cemented further because of two. You will never know how much those talks meant and changed me. Thank you, Stephanie and Amelia.
The Sentry Gathers…