i grew up surrounded by music – not your typical childhood tunes, though. my dad raised me in a pool of heavy metal and classic rock, throwing me in before i could swim, and my mom cheered him along from the sidelines as my older sister shook her head with distaste. to this day, if you mention a child listening to rock music, my dad will grin and tell you about the time he looked in the backseat and saw me in my booster seat, headbanging to the Metallica song he had playing.
so, naturally, i listened to music any chance i got: on the bus, sitting at home, during car rides, while waiting at the dentist’s office. i grew to admire the guitarists of each band i listened to and aspired to be like them – to be in a band of my own as the lead guitarist and travel the world, meet countless new people. i even began to learn how to play the instrument in fifth grade but never kept up with it.
one year prior, though, my teacher, mrs. scott, gave the class a writing assignment. i cannot remember the exact prompt she gave, given my terrible memory and the fact that this occurred over eight years ago, but i do remember that the assignment required a horror/mystery-inspired theme (i believe it was october at the time). being the natural reader i was, many different plots swam in my brain, and i had a difficult time choosing which to write out. eventually, i finished my paragraph or two and turned it in. later that day, my teacher approached me and told me how much she loved my writing and the use of the phrase “blood-curdling scream.” in retrospect, she probably just admired that a fourth-grader even knew the term “blood-curdling,” but being the nine-year-old i was, i did not know that; for the next few days or so, i was beaming with pride, doing everything i could to mention to others that mrs. scott had liked it so much and that she had also displayed it for everyone in the school to see on the wall in the hallway outside of her classroom (which she also did with a few other students’ works, but i had never made it there before). i also can recall her showing the paper to other teachers, discussing how well i had written for an elementary student.
from that moment on, i decided to start writing. but i still wanted to play in a band. as the years passed, though, i never really learned how to play the guitar, and i began writing more and more as the days went by. eventually (around eighth or ninth grade), my guitar went to my sister because i stopped wanting to play it for a living, and my dreams transitioned to ones of keyboards, ink pens, and loose notebook paper. so much so that i applied to an arts high school in my tenth grade year, specifically with the purpose of going for writing, and got in.
my dreams are nowhere near the general vicinity of my future, but i never imagined i would be where i am now, especially when i was in fourth grade, proud of the use of “blood-curdling scream” in a paragraph-long story. but to this day, i do not know how to play the guitar, but i will never give up on my dreams of writing.