When I was seven years old, my father asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Without skipping a beat, I answered. “I want to be on The New York Times Bestsellers List.”
For as long as I could remember, my father took me to Barnes & Noble. I would pretend I was Matilda from Dahls book and wander the aisles; admiring all of the books I’d read. It was my personal library. He’d let me wander freely, gathering any and every book that caught my eye. Upon reuniting, he would always chuckle, informing me that I could only have 1, 2, or 3 this time. No matter how many he allotted me, I always wanted one more.
I’d pick out journals as often as possible. Even if I hadn’t finished the one he’d bought me on the prior visit. The feel of a new journal, the smell of untouched pages, the purity of those unused lines, the smoothness of the cover, the endless possibilities.
It didn’t take me long to realize, the special books, the ones everyone wanted to read rested on a shelf designated solely for those bestsellers. People couldn’t keep their hands off of them. Strangers traveled from all around the city just to purchase the words of some random person who just so happened to land on this shelf. Paying for their thoughts.
I wanted that.
I still do.
I will admit, I really have no idea what I’m doing right now. People have asked me what my blog is about. “Um…it’s sort of an authors blog, I think.” Why am I pushing myself to participate in NanoWrimo this year when I haven’t in years past? Why do I have papers and post-its taped to my bedroom wall with random words and dialogues? Because I want this to mean something. I want my thoughts to mean something.
And now it gets personal.
My father passed away on July 22, 2011. Since his passing, all I have wanted to do is write. I got sidetracked for a little while but I’m fully dedicated to writing, expression, feeling. I write for myself. To make my thoughts solid on paper. To validate my self proclamation as a writer. I write to make my mark on the world, no matter how big or small. I write because not writing doesn’t make sense to me. I write because I dream about writing. I write so my son has something to be proud of. I write to prove I was meant for something more. I write to give my son opportunities I never knew. I write for my father. I write to make him proud. I write to show him my gratitude. I write because not writing is not an option.
When I was seven years old, my father asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I answered with “I want to be on The New York Times Bestsellers List.” I’ll never forget his face, his smile, his faith. “And you will.” That moment has stayed with me for 20 years.
And so, I write.