My favourite hobby shaped my life as a writer.
“What’s your favourite hobby? Do you mean writing? That doesn't make sense. Explain yourself!”
Alright, alright.. let me explain myself will you? Sheesh, my imaginary audience are such impatient creatures.
Writing isn't my hobby... writing is more than that and we’re talking about what shaped me as a writer. So, what is my hobby?
People. People are my hobby.
I am a deeply compassionate person. Sometimes, it stinks, but I find ways to make the best of it. Connecting with people and watching people and loving people. No matter how antisocial I may feel, people will always fascinate me. When I watch a film, I pay attention to the characters. The characters will inevitably be what makes me like or dislike a film. I love character-driven stories. Their depths, their emotions and their passions. I love a character who is deeply flawed and finds a way to be great despite the things that make them imperfect; that make them human.
With my love for words, and my love for people, this only naturally means that when people take the time to encourage me with words, it encourages my very soul. The greatest gift anyone could give me is a bundle of words, sincere and from the heart.
When I reached a point where I managed to push past my timorous ways and really use this magnificent tool at my fingertips — that being the worldwide web — to reach out to the people I looked up to, I got thrilling results.
At age twelve, I sent an email to my favourite author of the time, Karen Hancock — I believe I was asking for signed book labels. When life events caused her to be late in sending them out (and informing me of this via email reply to apologize) we ended up exchanging words back and fourth in conversation.
This was huge to me! A fairly well known author not only emailed me, but emailed again.. shared simple conversation with me! I had already grown up incredibly privileged, in a household with a computer programmer for a dad (meaning we've always had technology everywhere and I've grown up learning to use it all). So I understood the concept of being able to meet and talk to people from around the world — I met my first legitimate online friend when I was ten and we still talk seven years later — but this exchange with a “real life author” opened up my mind to the realization that with this crazy thing we have called the web, I could reach out to just about anybody!
That realization led me to reach out to all sorts of people— from well known bands, an internet-popular poet and superstar authors— and forming personal connections with many of them. I've had personal conversations, spent an evening with, opened up my heart to and have hand-written letters from people of all kinds. Some I’ve met in person, some I haven’t. And those experiences and conversations are some of the things that have pushed me as a person and as a writer. They keep me curious and inspired.
People. They are fascinating, beautiful, amazing, talented beings, and they are what have shaped me as a writer. And I think they’ll continue doing so for as long as there is breath in my lungs.