To All the Dreamers
Listening to: Lorde – Melodrama
Every so often I get a box in the mail from my mom. The box usually consists of childhood things of mine she found while cleaning someplace or another in her house. Now bear in mind, I haven’t lived at home for almost 20 years (feel free to NOT do the math), and I find it funny that lost belongings of mine still hide in random places of her home. But when I do get these boxes, I am filled with a bit of excitement and curiosity. Then I open them.
Sometimes I laugh. The randomness of the things she finds and sends my way. Old pottery I made in high school Ceramics class. Old yearbooks. Copies of my high school’s literary journal that published my angst-ridden poetry. Notes passed between friends eons ago.
Sometimes I get nostalgic. Like when the box contains a collection of Christopher Pike, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz novels (what an odd mix, right? I was an odd child).
Sometimes I am thrilled. Like when I open the box and inside are my old Wonder Woman and X-Men comics, still in great condition. And I flip through them, easily remembering the storylines I loved so much growing up.
But sometimes I am truly touched. Typed (on a typewriter!) and hand drawn stories about dinosaurs I created when I was in elementary school. A note about a story I’d written from my 3rd grade teach, Miss. Tice, who was the first person outside of my parents who saw the writer I could be one day, and made me feel like I really could follow my dream. Young me had loads of ambition, and reading my old journals—lovingly greeted to Agent Scully as opposed to the standard “Dear Diary,” because OF COURSE—I had such conviction about who I was going to grow up to be. I was flipping through one of these artifacts this past weekend thanks to another box of good my mom had shipped up, and I found this line:
I want to hug that younger version of myself. Her dreams were big. Her books were dark and twisty (and they still are). I’ve been working hard my entire life to achieve what she set out for herself then, and for myself now. Yes, I am a writer. And an agented one at that. I have accomplished that much of my dream. It was not an easy or smooth road. It was hairpin curved and lined with potholes. It took quite a while, but I didn’t give up. I work hard every day to further hone my craft, to keep writing, to keep trying, to not let rejection steal my creativity. Sure, I have days when I want to slam my face into my keyboard. But I also have days when I can’t stop writing, the words flowing freely and easily, the ideas launching at me once after another. No one said the path to being a published writer was an easy one. But I, for one, wouldn’t choose any other path than the one I’m on.
It’s humbling to remember young me’s dreams, and remind myself the same thing I would remind that headstrong girl, and every writer out there, whether just beginning to follow your dream, or newly agented, or debut published, or never published but still trying so hard, and everything in between. Each journey is different. Don’t give up. Focus on being the best writer you can be, telling the best story that sings in your heart. And most of all, believe in yourself. If you don’t, no one else will.