So the first memoir for you is called "Why I Write." It was originally written my senior year, and has been slightly edited for this post. Have fun with my writerly past!
That's like asking why I breathe.
I can't name a time words didn't fascinate me. As soon as I learned to speak (or even before!) I was chattering nonstop at my parents about everything I could think of. I just loved to be heard and understood, and I loved the power words gave me to gain attention. It was cute until my little brother Nathan showed up, of course. Then I had to start learning to quiet down. That was when I really discovered reading... or, rather, being read to.
My first favorite book, as far as I've been told, was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss, who is, of course, a genius with language. My second favorite bedtime reading was a National Geographic article about tarantulas. I consumed information and words like my other brother Michael consumes noodles. Being able to get that, to get information I didn't have before, from something simple and accessible like a book seemed miraculous to me.
Yes. The first word I ever properly read was "armadillo".
After that, I could read almost all the words in the Clifford book, like magic, as though an entirely different world had opened up to me. I went to kindergarten the next day massively proud of myself. The teacher, Mrs. Blackman, always wrote a letter to the class on the board every morning, and asked each child to try reading a sentence. When she asked for volunteers that morning, my hand hit the air. She called on a different girl first. That girl read, very slowly, stumbling across her words, the first sentence. Then Mrs. Blackman chose me. I read the next sentence quickly, easily.
Mrs. Blackman paused, looking at me with a strange expression. "Can you read... more?" she asked.
"I can read all of it," I said confidently. And I did.
I will never, in my whole life, forget the look on Mrs. Blackman and the aide's faces when I was done. I beamed at them, certain I had done something amazing. It was the beginning of a new era for me.
I read voraciously from then on, everything I possibly could. Within a year I stopped asking for bedtime stories because I could read much faster than my mother, and I preferred to. I can't even name for you all the books I read, there were so many. I just loved to read, and pretty soon, I realized I also liked to write, essays and things for school, although my handwriting was and still is atrocious. (My teachers in early elementary had me type everything, even my spelling tests. LOL.)
In 1st grade, at the end of year, we were told to do a massive end project of our choice. My mother, being one of my teachers, helped me to pick, and we decided to do a huge writing portfolio. It included a few different kinds of poems, a short story, two picture books which I donated to Nathan's preschool, and, the piece du jour, my first few months of diary writing.
That project set off my writing life forevermore. Not only did I enjoy the process of writing, but the appreciation I'd gotten from the preschool class was huge and heartwarming. I knew I wanted to do that from then on, to make something that would make people happy. I wanted to make a difference in people's lives.
I wanted the real deal.
My first few attempts fell sadly short. I made it my goal to someday reach 100 pages, which I would then count as a full novel. I tried. I failed. I tried. I failed.
In 6th grade, I finished my first full length novel, THE DRAGON SLAYERS, which has since, sadly, been lost. The plot followed five characters based directly on my friends through a magical world with soul pets and a dangerous enemy destroying, particularly, dragons, but all kinds of creatures. Then came THE ICE ENCHANTRESS'S PLOT, right on the heels of the first book, and one of my masterpieces even today. The typical orphan story, it follows a girl through her discovery of a magical world, which she must save with the help of her remaining family and a few friends. This book also was the beginning of my career of a romantic author... I'd always been a romantic, but finally, that became clear in the writing, and the writing became me.
Along with THE ICE ENCHANTRESS's PLOT came a project for my Gifted and Talented class--me and another girl who loved to write were given time with a local book agent who taught us a lot about the writing and publishing process. She considered me impatient, uncontrollable, and extremely gifted. I knew, from that moment, I was going to become a novelist.
I was going to get published if it killed me.
Many more novels followed, along with some poetry, song-writing, and continual, almost obsessive diary writing. I continued to try and publish THE ICE ENCHANTRESS'S PLOT. At first, I tried without editing. (Hahaha... don't do that.) After getting twelve rejections, I set publishing to the side for a while. Instead, I began joining various online writing groups, including the one to which I still am and may possibly always be loyal to, the Scholastic Write It! boards. I also began entering small scale contests.
In 8th grade, I wrote, among others, a novel called THE PSYCHIC STORY. Fully focused fantasy romance, this one spoke of secret worlds, of freedom over fear, and I knew this was the next one I'd be focusing on. After a full year of intense edits, with help from many friends and online writing buddies, I began sending it out to publishers. I did that for years and years, knowing only that the only way to fail was to give up. I continued to write other novels and even expanded from poems into short stories and memoirs in the meantime. I got upwards of 40 rejections in total, with a few glimmering, later extinguished, moments of possibility.
My senior year, I switched my publishing back over to a new book of mine, in the hopes it would attract publishers better in the current climate. ON THE OUTSIDE has been rejected now twenty times, but I hold out the hope that still, someday soon, I will be published. I know I can do it, I know I can become as successful and influential as I hope, if I only stay determined.
I have written 16 full length novels. I have countless other works on the sides. I have written over 56 diaries.
Why do I write?
If I didn't write, I would cease to exist. The body might remain, but the person who is Kira would die, shriveling in the lack of words to explain her existence. Whatever was left would most likely be a great example of insanity. I don't know. I've never tried it. A day doesn't go by in which I haven't written at least in my giant diary.
I write for myself. So I can understand, so I can see the truth, so there is something beyond me that I am able to reach.
Someday, I will publish so that others can have the same.
Images via santa-coloma.net and academichelp.net.
*A quick happy birthday to my brother Nathan! Love you, crazy butt!*