Dream Catchers and Storytellers
At first, it was depression. Holding on to a pen rather than a blade and keeping my mind going. Sad stories flowing out like tears on my pillow. Before I wrote, I sat in my room alone, narrating stories to my stuffed animals. I didn't have many friends until I look back at the people in the photo album of my memories. I was never the kid going to sleepovers or hanging out on the weekends with friends or excitedly hanging out friendship bracelets to my friends. I played alone and worried too much and spent an embarrassing amount of time staring at the sun because people told me I shouldn't. I liked to read and decided in third grade that all I could do with my life was tell stories.
The first story I wrote successfully was about a girl helping her brother's mail-order bride and her sister escape her brother's abuse after she finds out that her sister-in-law is pregnant and couldn't bring herself to get an abortion. I weaved together 50,000 words, ut the final period on it, and deleted the whole thing. It was disjointed trash. The story followed me for years, lying in bed and staring at me. It wasn't the right story, but I wanted to tell the stories of those girls. Ohio has the highest rate of sex trafficking in the country. I didn't know that until I escaped this damn country, and my father took to giving me updates.
I got into history a year after I came back from England. Missing the opportunity to hoard English history books is one of my biggest regrets. I sit every night for weeks on end typing out names and dates and events. A long list in blue cursive sits next to me. The last page only has the tail-ends of my findings. Emile Berliner. Irene Manning. Bob Hope. Joe Weber. Lew Fields. Jason Gould. Oscar Hammerstein. William H. West. George H. Cohan. Sam Shubert. Mitzi Gaynor. Lola Mendez. Rowena Granice Steele. Frank Furness. Yvonne De Carlo. I realized that history can be accurate without leaving people out. But we don't. I never understood why. I never understood anything. That why I started writing.
Writing and biology have so much in common. It's all just questions. How can communism work? Why do color tattoos not work on dark skin? Can there be a love story that you can't predict before it even begins? Why are they pushing this vaccine so hard? What made Stalin so mad? Were his shoes too tight? Can you stretch shoes that are too small? Can you unflatten pop? I jot questions down instead of paying attention to the lessons I have to take. School was never my thing, but I never had a chance to say that. I liked to learn and could still relatively still and be relatively quiet so I wasn't a problem. I guess I like to write because I can say and do whatever the hell I want. I write the stories that eight-year-old me wanted to see and ask the questions sixteen-year-old me wanted answered and funnel those damn emotions suffocating eleven-year-old me.
To any inspiring writer, I would recommend you to say and do whatever the hell you want in your writing. Though (as all my professors have come to learn), once you unleash who you want to be on paper, no one will be able to hold you back or stifle you.