“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
~ Anton Chekhov
One year ago today, I was shaking in a green, backless stool and barely breathing, hoping that the practice I did all summer was enough. One year ago, I was intimidated by writers who would soon be my teammates. Exactly one year ago, I was an eighth grader trying out for the Mason Middle School Power of the Pen team.
Even though I didn’t compete, getting onto this team marked the beginning of a journey of discovering myself and my passion for writing. Writing narratives almost every Monday opened my eyes to what it really meant to create character, to develop unexpected, interesting plots, to take advantage of a strong vocabulary and to truly understand the power of words.
Ever since I was little, I’ve been a creative person. I remember being five years old and sitting upright on the piano with a smile and ready to play. I remember being at family parties and going into a room and singing where no one could hear me, and I can’t remember far back enough to when I didn’t dance. I was that child obsessed with duct tape crafts and origami, and the kid who was binge-watching the Food Network while everyone else was hooked on iCarly. But I always felt like there was something missing. As much as I loved the activities I did, I knew that there was something else. Before Power of the Pen (POP), I didn’t know what it was I loved to do; I just knew that I loved to create.
In eighth grade, I was involved in almost everything: A science competition team, the science fair and a myriad of service clubs in addition to POP. When people asked me which club was my favorite, the answer was hard. Now, as I look back, I know the answer should have been very easy. First of all, the fact that I was so greatly impacted by something I didn’t get the full experience in competing in, should have been a sign held three inches away from my face reading, “Power of the Pen!” Second of all, and more importantly, I should’ve asked myself the question I do now: After eighth grade, what did you want to further continue and what did you genuinely love to do? And the answer was write.
By no means am I saying that I am where I want to be as a writer. Being only a freshman in high school, I have plenty of room to grow and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to reach my goal. But Power of the Pen provided the initial fuel for this everlasting fire. Being in a room full of passionate writers made me develop my own passion for writing. And no competition could ever replace that.
This is my way of thanking my coaches: Thank you for giving me the feedback I didn’t want to hear so I would never repeat the same mistake twice, and thank you for being so enthusiastic and for loving writing so much that you instilled a passion for writing into someone who once believed that she would only ever love math and science.
This is my way of thanking my teammates: Thank you for inspiring me, both as writers and as people. I’m so proud to call you guys my friends, and my jaw continues to drop after reading your writing.
Good luck to this year’s team, and I hope POP does for you what it did for me!