People named Roger are evil.

When I was younger, I wrote all the time. At nine, I wrote Trixie Belden- or Encyclopedia Brown-esque stories featuring my friends. When I was 12, my stories briefly turned lurid and grisly, full of human sacrifice and cannibalism.

At 13 or 14, I turned to fantasy and romance. My heroines had names like Jethany and Ember, and the stories frequently involved an evil uncle named Roger. I had never kissed a boy, so the romantic bits were vague.

Many of my stories were transparently modeled after whatever book I had just read and loved, whether consciously or unconsciously. I tried on the voices of L.M. Montgomery, Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, and Madeleine L’Engle. Once I got caught writing in class and the teacher confiscated my work in progress, thinking it was a note. After class, he gave the pages back and told me I should keep writing. I remember thinking he didn’t realize how closely it was inspired by a book I had just read, and feeling a bit like a fraud.

Then I went to college, and my life immediately grew more engaging. I had more friends, I went to parties, and I kissed lots of boys. From there, it only got worse. Men continued to take up my attention. I had “real” jobs, finally got to do some traveling, lived in cities, and fell in love. While I still spent plenty of time dreaming, my actual life absorbed me.

And I decided that I had written when I was younger only because I was so very bored, so full of longing, so very much wishing for my life to be different. When my life became different, I didn’t need writing any more.

But now, I don’t know. I’ve been trying to write fiction again, even though it is like pulling teeth. This morning I’ve washed the dishes, cleaned out the refrigerator, organized the bedside tables, trimmed dead leaves off the fresh flowers on my dining table, swept the bathroom floor, and eaten two brownies. And looked up weather records to see if this is, actually, the coldest Seattle spring/latest summer in memory. And went hunting to figure out where my kitten is able to disappear to so completely in my 700-square-foot apartment (in the back of the closet, in my husband’s shoe). Ah, procrastination.


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