Before anything else, I had decided I wanted to be a ballerina. I was a hard-working, disciplined and committed child and I was introduced to ballet at a very young age. It was the prettiest profession known to toddler-me, the closest a living person could get to be being somewhat mythical and divine and perfect, like a muse, a nymph, an enchanted swan trapped in a human body. Unfortunately I had the grace and flexibility of a century old oak tree even then, and after only few precious years of practicing my dreams were brutally shattered by my dancing teacher at the time and at the age of five, I learned that ballet dancing was not for me. It must have been about that time that I changed my mind and made a career choice that seemed pretty permanent and, more than a decade and a half later, still is, as I still stand by five-year-old me’s words: when I grow up, I want to be a writer.
picture from sparkyourself.org
See, the problem is, this was before I even knew how to transfer most of the letters of the words I knew onto paper, let alone how to spell those words correctly. Strikingly peculiar evidence of this era of my life, an anthology, if I remember correctly (mostly eloquently written poetry as far as toddlers go, accompanied by huge illustrations (most notable recurring characters in these illustrations include my mother, my father, my sister, our cat and a fairly large assortment of princesses and princes) that take up most of the space on the pages, that are professionally held together by awkwardly large pieces of Scotch tape, leaving little room altogether for the actual poem) is still preserved in cardboard boxes somewhere in my mother’s detailed archive of memories of my childhood, cherished or otherwise, in our basement. On a side note, this archive also contains a small but brilliant collection of awkward videotapes of my toddler self, performing an amazing repertoire of what should have been nursery rhymes with English lyrics consisting of actual English words. Alas, however, for the most part, they were not.
Soon after, I started seeing my surroundings as descriptions, strings of words and sentences that molded into shape automatically in my head. It was a wonderful world of my own. It was and has been since then, my absolute favourite, most fascinating and most cherished part of my own brain: the ability to convey onto paper the stories that happened around me. I pretended to be mute, deaf and blind at the same time, using only words to paint a vivid and convincing impression of everything around me. I observed, made up back stories for strangers or public buildings, or tried to recreate thoughts and overheard dialogues. I don’t know when I went from writer to describer, but at some point I did. I was a wildly creative child all through school, the darling starlet of every teacher, a teacher’s pet pur sang. The stories literally (pun intended) flowed out of me. With every writing assignment, I got showered in compliments and I was never more determined to reach my oh so modest goal of becoming a world famous novelist by the time I was eighteen. Whenever I coincidentally run into an old teacher of mine, I still feel like thanking them for the support and inspiration they brought to my life as a kid. Yet in a certain sense, I suppose, it was the same teachers that corrupted my writing because these events led me to believe I had more than a shred of talent and I got slightly cocky about it. The creativity seems to have all been used up since then and I helplessly resort to clichés whenever I have the faintest idea for a story. The fact of the matter is, as of yet, having no novel or finished short story to show for, I am rather hesitant to call myself a writer. Or a grown up, for that matter, so I suppose there’s still time.