I remember I was in fifth grade. It was one of my worst years ever, and my worst year in elementary school. But I had hope because I was starting to discover writing. I had just written my first full-length work, Journey to the End of the World. It was a fantasy adventure story, fifty pages handwritten. It featured characters I still remember today and I hope to create into a finished product one day. I was proud and hoping for the best. Completing this story showed that I could do it.
It was a year I spent very sad, in fifth grade. I was alienated from my peers and always withdrawn, though I tried to engage but made no friends. But I had writing.
Some of my sadness came from the abuse at home. Some of it came from feeling alone and having no friends. Some of it came from having a low self-esteem. And there were other reasons as well. This was the year I was accused of having self-pity for simply explaining how hopeless I felt to a peer. But I had writing, and plans to write good work in the future. I was just getting started. I would write good work. That was my commitment and goal.
Then one day I was in a hurry for school and I reached for a glass and it got stuck, and then I dropped it when it slipped and it broke. It was an accident. My mom came storming in and demanded to know what had happened, what I was thinking, why I had dropped the glass. Trying to think up a reason for the accident, I said frantically and in a moment of panic, “I was thinking about my story!” and then my mother angrily interrupted me and yelled, “What about your stupid story?”
Somehow I still decided to be a writer, to come of age and do it. But I’m not sure you easily forget things like that …