by Laura Williams
The Three Little Bears, The Bernstein Bears, and Dr. Seuss were the formative books at four years old. In fact, many of these books have teeth marks in them where I chewed the covers. I’d like to think this occurred because the books were so wonderful I wanted to literally devour them. Unfortunately, I fear it was just because I wanted to chew on something. Nonetheless, my hunger for the written word grew steadily as I got older. That hunger for reading slowly gave way to the hunger to write and tell my own stories.
Though sometimes the reading and the writing comes in waves where I read and write all the time to other moments where I forget entirely I should do either, both are very much a part of me. But the question is why? Why do I itch when I haven’t read for a while or written anything creative? My guess is because of the stories. We crave the exciting, the tantalizing, the adventuring, the romancing, and sometimes even the mundane. When we talk with people, we want to know the stories of their lives. When we get together with people we haven’t seen in a while, we catch up by telling stories. Stories punctuate our relationships. As a reader, I love reading new stories. But I want one that captures my imagination and teaches me new things about the world. As a writer, I want to learn the stories around me. I want to peek in to people’s lives and see what makes them operate the way they do. To put it another way, the curiosity may have killed the cat, but the curiosity fuels the writer.
To be curious, means you’re aware of the world and you ask questions. My grandmother, who passed away recently, was someone who asked questions. Not in a gossipy kind of way but in a genuine, care for people kind of way. She was a woman of 99 years on this planet and was full of stories. She always told me I came by the writing game honestly. When she was ten, she won an award for the best essay in class. She liked to try new things and get to know people. She learned their stories and she was interested in those stories. It’s a legacy I wish to continue.
We often choose to escape our world and our stories for those of others. I get that; sometimes our own stories are really hard to live through. But it’s those stories that make us better writers, make us better consumers of the written word. We walk in a lens that is uniquely our own, that no one else has. It’s time we shared that. It may be subtle, it may be quiet but getting thoughts on the page is what fuels this society. It’s what gave us some of my favorite books: To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, and The Night Circus. All have a unique perspective on the world and only those authors could have told it the way they did.
We walk daily with stories. They may be stories of our lives or they may be out this world. But they need to be shared. I guarantee that once outside of our brains and down on paper, they will make an impact. Maybe that’s what fuels my fire to write. I want to make an impact. Some people use medicine, some sports, I choose the written word and for all of you who hear that same written music, I hope you’re choose stories to make a difference in this world.
Laura Williams is a reading, writing, theatre-ing nerd who loves to find a good book and hide from the world but who also loves to express herself by portraying many different characters on stage. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she has done her fair share of traveling around the world to experience many different cities and cultures but she is proud to call the PNW home. She blogs about books and movies and loves a good story. Her favorite kind to write are fantasy pieces.