This week I am pleased to have Melissa Sarno joining me on the blog. Here is a little about her...
I can think of many things that have happened to me because of a book. As a child, I definitely had an overly romantic and idealistic view of the world. I thought that things would be much more exciting if I could live on a farm with talking pigs like in Charlotte’s Web or prance around, following a red robin to an enormous secret garden. I wanted to be the fifth March sister in Little Women and I had lots of other nonsensical ideas that might have gotten me funny looks on the playground. Of course, I now believe that a healthy imagination led me to write the stories I write today. The fact that I knew stories existed at all must have led to my belief that I could create them too.
I wrote stories from the time my Dad brought home a strange Apple computer when I was 7 years old. Pac Man got boring after a while and the only other thing to ‘play with’ on the strange contraption was a word processing program. I wrote all kinds of silly little things I wish I could read now. And if you had a computer that still read a floppy disk, maybe I could! I also told people I wanted to be an ‘author’ like Ann M. Martin, creator of the beloved Babysitter’s Club series.
Despite the fact that I was so invested in the idea of becoming a ‘writer’ and that I had become so wrapped up in stories other people wrote as well as absorbed in the words I was putting on paper, it did not hit me that stories and words were powerful things until I read The Diary of Anne Frank. The fact that she sat down to write in her journal every day. That she told her story despite unimaginable human suffering. That she was just a young girl and she had a voice was remarkable to me. Of course we know her as a symbol of so much more. I mean the praise for this book is epic; her wisdom at such a young age, her faith in the human spirit, her haunting prose, all about a life cut tragically short. But for me, it was all about this idea of being 15 years old and writing out your thoughts even when no one cares and no one is listening. And then knowing that those words could become what they became. That it was just a paper and a pen that could make the whole world turn their heads and listen.
Of course, there are many books that shaped me as a writer. But it was her diary that told me if you sit down and write what you think, it could mean something to someone. And at 15 years old myself, I thought, Well, this makes a lot of sense to me. This is pretty cool. You never know who will hear your stories. You never know who will relate to them. You just sit down and tell your story the best you can with the knowledge that someday it could mean something to someone.
Anne Frank and her family, fleeing the horrors of Nazi occupation, hid in the back of an Amsterdam warehouse for two years. She was thirteen when she went into the Secret Annex with her family.
Buy it at IndieBound