By Erin Forbes
It begins with words misspelled across paper notebooks, written in various shades of crayon--Pacific Blue, Sunglow, Atomic Tangerine.And I suppose it begins at the age of five, as I stand in the kindergarten classroom. Can you see that child, with the head of blonde curls, and blue eyes enthralled by fiction? She reads the book for as long as the librarian will let her take it home.
Can you imagine, that girl is me?
It begins with the wonder of the bookstore, those evenings spent between dusted shelves. My mother sits beside me, while her voice echoes the words trapped between pages. Raindrops patter against the windows, while the scent of warm coffee drifts from the café. I close my eyes and listen to the assonance. It touches the unreachable corners of the spirit, and illuminates the shadows that attempt to hide there.
Those memories remain vivid, unlike the illustrations that fade with time.
Hours pass into days, which pass into years. Ringlets take on a different shade, though blue eyes and wonder remain unchanged. Spare notebooks fill with stories, which form mountains against the wall. The stout works of fiction are derived from the melodramatic life of an eleven-year-old girl. Even so, not a word is wasted.
The next tale arrives.
Like a moth, it must be caught before it soars out of reach. My fingertips glide across the board of letters. I pause to read it aloud, to tap on the desktop and listen for the song. It collects on the pages of an enchanting novella, on the promise of a newfound adventure.
Soon enough, there is a proper tale before me. New characters rise with brilliance, prepared to gather the chapters in their arms. A realm of fiction forms in the imagination, built between the castles and forests of the mind.
It claims a separate chamber, a bright place that shelters from the danger. The words climb like vines, forming arches of plot and crowns of devices. A piece of my soul seeps through the ink, to separate and infuse into the spirit of each character. Each one grows like an untamable rose, hidden in the secret garden of the mind. I close my eyes and find myself standing there, amid the castles and foggy air. This land has formed from the heart of a young girl, from the depths of her imagination. I find the courage to share it with the world, to accept the wings it has given me.
Eight years have passed. A pair of novels rest beside me, while the next formats behind a screen. The words pour out in black ink, in unconventional lines of script. I like to believe nothing has changed.
The tale is rooted in my soul, like a wild notion down the rabbit hole. It does not sort itself out in there, so it escapes with a whisper and stamps down on the paper. I feel each letter swell within me, until the scene demands to be written out. I can understand it there, make sense of all the wildness, and find meaning in each tangled piece.
Readers delight and interviewers inquire, “What was it that left you inspired?”
To tell the truth, the blame rests on her—that little girl on the carpeted floor. She has always been one to muse over things, to dream of the everlasting. She placed the words on the tip of my tongue.
Like an artist paints the vision before them, the author writes to breathe life into words. How it would suffocate to keep it all inside! I write with the hope of capturing life, love, and nature—three of the greatest treasures—in a few short sentences. I write to dream, to muse, to understand, and I write to share it all with the world.
Although I know I’ll always be writing for her.
Erin Forbes is the young author of the Fire & Ice book series. When she was sixteen years old, she published the first installment in the
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