Once upon a time...
That’s how most good stories start, right? I doubt the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, or Charles Perrault would have used such a formula if it didn’t work so well. My story is no different:
Once upon a time, a little girl got in trouble for penciling in edits and “creative suggestions” into library books. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I didn’t enjoy reading books or that seven-year-old-me thought she could do a better job – in fact, I loved reading. I read everything I could get my hands on. In most cases, I didn’t want the stories to end. And then a crazy thought struck me as I faced yet another corner while in time-out as a disgruntled librarian erased my work:
What if I wrote my own stories?
From then on, I wrote on just about anything: Notebooks, Post-It notes, paper placemats at Italian restaurants…you get the idea. And as I got older, my passion for writing intensified. I went through an obligatory emo-poetry phase in middle school, and in my senior year of high school, I studied playwriting and produced two three-act plays. I learned how to tell other people’s stories through journalism and print production, which I practiced for over five years throughout high school and college. I discovered my love for children and young adult literature while pursuing a specialized degree in creative writing from Mills College’s English program. And then, like most protagonists caught up in a Joseph Campbell-approved journey, I found myself at a crossroad:
What do you do with a B.A. in English?
Nearly every job I’d held up to that point had something to do with children and education, so the next logical step seemed to be a career in education. However, instead of jumping straight into graduate school, I decided to gain “real life experience” in a classroom and accepted a position with the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) Programme. So, a month and a half after graduation, I was on a plane bound for Japan to teach English in the inaka.
Living abroad was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done, but it was also one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life. I spent three years as an Eigo no sensei to preschool, elementary, and junior high school students. During my time with JET, I taught kids how to write their names in English, recognize vocabulary, strengthened their understanding of a foreign language, helped foster their self-confidence, and asked “Hello! How are you?” more times than I’d care to admit.
Teaching is an impactful and powerful career, but I realized that it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was difficult to say goodbye to my students, but it was time for me to focus on my career and do what I love most – writing and crafting stories.
I am currently an MFA in creative writing candidate at Full Sail University and upon completion of my degree, I want to work in the entertainment industry. I firmly believe that storytelling can educate and entertain, and as I move into the next phase of my career, I am excited and ready for the opportunity to share my unique point of view as a writer with audiences.
Once upon a time, a little girl got in trouble for penciling in edits and “creative suggestions” into library books.
Now, she writes her own stories.