I recently picked up a book and was thumbing through when I came across the author’s biography. Like many other bios, it said something along the lines of:
Ms Author always dreamed about being a author. She’s been an avid writer since before she exited the uterus, tracing stories on the womb’s lining with her barely formed fingers. She won writing competitions at the tender age of 3 for her insightful dinosaur adventures and never looked back. She could never imagine being anything other than a writer. Bow down and envy her awesomeness.
Okay, okay. I’m guilty of writing a similar bio myself.
But to tell the truth, while I’ve been writing stories for a long while now, I never really began to dream about being an author until recently.
Why? I’ll let you in on a secret: as a child I was a terrible reader. I was slow to learn; my parents had to sit down with me every evening to help me catch up with my classmates. I hated reading (or so my parents tell me — I don’t remember).
Then something in my head clicked, and from having to shove me in front of a book, my parents couldn’t get my nose OUT of one. By the time I hit middle school, I had devoured most of the books in the school library and even made a point of telling the librarian which books I wanted her to get.
And when I couldn’t find the stories I wanted to read, I scribbled them out. I lived them, I breathed them. The stories filled my head with dreams: dreams of being invisible or being able to fly or shapeshift, or being a secret undercover spy who had to save the world. I dreamed about unfamiliar situations and adventures and about anything — anything — that would take me away from real life. I wasn’t writing stories because I dreamed about being an author; writing was just something I did because it was the only way to get at all close to my dreams.
The reason I love writing is because it is my chance to be the things I’ve always dreamed about. To be magical. To be a heroine. To find meaning and beauty. To be part of something greater than myself. To be involved in a story worth hearing about rather than my humdrum life.
But I’ve come to realize that something in my mind has clicked again. Something has changed. And now the dreams of being magical and heroic and worth knowing have competition from a new dream: being an author.
I’ve been writing about my dreams for a long time now, but it is only recently I’ve begun to dream about being an author. Why? Because I want to be the person who can give others the gift of dreams, as so many authors have given me mine.
Anna, I can so relate to this post, although my mother taught me to read during a long stay in the hospital when I was just barely three years old. I received 28 Golden books when I was there for my birthday, and I didn’t take my nose out of a book for the next…oh, 40 years or more. Book reports as extra credit were the only way I passed my senior year in high school, heh!
Like you, I want to give back something of what I received from reading all these years. I’ll never come close — but I would love to think one of my works could have the same impact as so many did on me.
Yes! It’s my greatest wish to give someone that incredible emotion you get when you finish a book that you’ve really enjoyed. To be able to make someone feel that way, or even inspire people to write about my characters in fanfiction or whatever… that would be amazing.
Wow. What an excellent post! That is the best description I have seen in a while behind what drives writers to write, and how we think of “being an author” as a different animal. It’s living within a dream as opposed to inviting others to share it with you.