It started in a little red book with a lock and key latch. I began writing in my after school hide-out of my bedroom with the sound of a bouncing basketball and light chatter from my brothers through my open window. And writing with a red pen, which is interesting as now I will never write with a red pen-only a fine blue one. All other colours go straight in the garbage, I must admit.
And I filled that little red book with all the angst of a 12 year-old. Filling those pages were trials of acne, math, and the boys who wouldn’t look at me. And by age thirteen I progressed to 8x10 coil bound Hilroy notebooks. And I still use those, with the habit of writing the date in the upper right corner transpired from my elementary school days.
Simultaneously, I started my first teen novel. Inspired by my favourite author then, S. E. Hinton, who published at 16 years old, I began Dani’s story. In neat printing, I wrote diligently those few hours after school and before dinner, filling pages upon pages of loose leaf in a blue binder. And then my brother found out.
I will never forget the day my brother opened the door to my bedroom and saw me writing. Shortly after, I walked into the garage and dumped every single filled page into the garbage bin. Honestly to this day I am not sure why I did that. Embarrassed maybe, that now he knew my secret that I wanted to be a writer?
A secret because a writer was the scariest profession I could ever imagine being. It was even scarier than falling off heels while on a date with one of those boys who never looked at me. What if I failed my dream of being just like S. E. Hinton?
But even though Dani’s story was lost in a field of garbage somewhere (as this was before recycling days), like dreams, she never died in my mind. And now her story is 40,000 words in a document folder on my desktop along with short stories, essays, and creative non-fiction. Sometimes months, even years have passed where my blue spiral binders lay low in my desk drawers, yet I knew a time would be coming where God was calling me to write my words again.
And my brother, married now to a writer, if he had known then, would most likely have walked behind me and pulled Dani’s story out of that garbage bin. Now I can retrieve any writings easily by re-opening in a locked folder on my desktop. But not those pens other than fine blue. They can stay in the garbage bin.