(Original as in the one written for school)
If any one of my friends ever heard me say “If there’s anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now,” (Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) they wouldn’t be surprised at all. This is probably because this same friend, if asked to describe me simply with adjectives, would reply: conceited, loud, annoying, egoistic, weird, obsessive, stubborn, competitive, funny, opinionated, blunt, and self-centered. And, for the most part, it’s true.
I most definitely am loud. So loud that it’s been suggested that I must have missed the day they taught us about our ‘inside voices’ in preschool. Or maybe I was talking. As for being annoying. . . I’m sure that anyone with lungs like mine gets annoying at some point. And if this isn’t the reason, I’m not quite sure what else to blame it on. Except, perhaps, my blunt straightforwardness. I’m not one to beat around the bush, unless completely necessary (or if it seems that in doing so, I will annoy you far more than by being to the point). Weird? Yes, I probably am by normal standards, but then again aren’t we all? As for being stubborn, I think it suffice to quote my eighth grade English teacher in her description of me as “. . . forthright, hard-headed, funny, compassionate, and did I mention stubborn?”
My conceit is probably born of my love for seeing my own name in print: an odd desire that I’ve entertained ever since I decided I wanted to become an author. . . in first grade. However, I’m sure my fancy isn’t only a result of this. I have a love for writing and words that’s been ingrained in me by my parents and grandparents since birth. Unlike some children, I did not rebel against the early immersion in Twain, Hemingway, Tolkien, Doyle, and Wodehouse, nor such newcomers to the literary scene as J. K. Rowling. I reveled in it. My earliest memories are of sitting in my mum’s lap horrified at the spoilt Lavinia from Frances Hodgeson Burnett’s The Little Princess, laughing with my dad over the antics of Jeeves and Wooster at three in the morning, and crying during “An Afterthought” of J. M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy.
I think all of this has given me a love of stories, which has carried over into my writing. I delight in writing creatively (never analytically—there is no scope for the imagination), mostly because of the thrill of creation: knowing that I have made something, written something that nobody else in the universe ever has before. This may be the egoist coming out in me, but it’s perfectly true: I love being singular. Because I have a wealth of opinions and a proclivity for sharing them—whether they’re wanted or not, writing is fun, too, because I can say what I believe in my own way and words with the only consequence being somebody admonishing you for what you’ve written—meaning they’ve read it.
When writing creatively, I hardly ever plan, if anything, I jot down a couple of notes, before I start writing what I hear in my head. I try not to think to hard before writing because often it makes me feel that what I am doing is stupid. I prefer to let it flow, writing whatever seems right at the moment. This often results in me piecing together scenes and conversations in order to form some semblance of a plot, as was the case with a relatively recent story of mine for school, Ten Green Bottles. I’m particularly proud of this work, not least because I managed to edit it down from a seven page, disjointed fiasco to a mere 666 well-chosen words. These 666 words told the story better than any thousands ever would’ve hoped to and it taught me a lesson in conciseness.
Writing fills up most of my spare time along with reading. I am constantly reading. I could never give a complete list of my favorite authors, for it really depends on my mood, but I will always love William Golding, J. R. R. Tolkien, J. K. Rowling, Douglas Adams, Phillip Pullman, and Arthur Ransome, all of whom have literally changed my life (and many of my beliefs, in the case of Adams). I have an amazingly twisted sense of humor (as well as imagination) that takes pleasure in such things as Edward Gorey’s brilliant drawings and short stories and Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. This love for Sweeney Todd (though it might seem incongruous with the rather happy-go-lucky picture I’ve painted of myself here) is really a staple of my current personality. Not because I think I’m all that similar to Sweeney Todd himself, or even Mrs. Lovett, but more because it is the embodiment of so much of what I love: a brilliant (but twisted) story, life in Victorian London, amazing singing (and singers), tragedy mixed with the blackest of humor. . . . Sweeney Todd is the type of thing I would have loved to write. The type of thing I hope to be remembered for.
And I think I’ll end the way I began, with a quote, one that I believe describes me very well considering the number of times I’ve been told that pursuing a career of writing is foolish, particularly as I do not possess the gift: “It is impossible to discourage the real writers—they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write” (Sinclair Lewis).