My answer hasn’t really changed since I was seven.
That’s when I wrote Standing in the Night. It’s a four-page catastrophe, riddled with spelling errors, plot holes and based heavily on a TV show my parents were watching. Despite its (many) flaws, it’ll always be a masterpiece to me. It gave me an answer when I was asked the age-old question: What do you want to be when you grow up?
I’d say some variant of I want to be an author. A writer. A blogger. I want to tell stories.
Standing in the Night, complete with its hand-drawn cover of the moon, has the sort of charm that can only really be achieved by a seven-year-old with big dreams and a stomach filled with cupcake icing.
It’s no secret: The book isn’t good. Honestly, I feel a little silly calling it a book. But when I was seven, I believed wholeheartedly that it could join the novels on shelves in the bookstore.
Maybe it was that belief that kept my pen flowing.
While my friends played make-believe at school, I was hunkered down with pencils and paper – writing myself worlds to live in and drafting dreadful poetry. They’d go home to play with dolls while I read books. They’d dream about being veterinarians, doctors, and superstars while I had my eyes set on telling stories.
We can’t all be superstars.
When my friends and I were about 14, the adults around us started expecting practical answers to the question, “What do you want to be?”
We’d reached a point where answering prompted follow-ups like: What do you want to study? What subjects are you going to take? And they feel like (never mind feel like – they are) big questions when you’re a teenager.
But it occurred to me, around the same sort of time that:
No one really knows the answer.
Looking back, I realise the adults around me asked what I wanted to be – but perhaps meant to ask, “What do you like?”
But anyway. That’s not the point.
The point is: Most people are bumbling through life trying to figure it out. There’s a character in this book I like. She says something about how we each contain multitudes; that we’re more than just one thing. And I like that.
I’m starting this blog when I’m 18; when there’s so much to figure out and discover. I’m not quite sure what it’ll turn into, or where I’ll go along the way, but I think there’s something magical about not knowing.
Thank you for coming along for the ride.
(Art by Celeste Berlier.)