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Thank You

The PsycheAwesome Moments

When my friends ask why I like to write, I always just shrug and say, “I don’t know. I just do.”

But when I’ve tried to pinpoint why I like writing, I have found it a lot harder than I expected because I realized that there were so many things I love about it.

There’s something about creating characters with interesting pasts and secrets that’s just very satisfying. Writing gives me a way to express what I’m feeling, whether pride, anger, or happiness. It can be hard for me to say the words out loud, but writing them down? No problem. Writing allows me to vent my feelings, all of them.

When I was around 13, I wrote a narrative about a boy named Blake. He was stuck in a small town and wanted to get out. He thought that his town would never change, and he was sick and tired of the same things — the same people, the same gloomy supermarkets. Nearly every day was identical to the one before. Blake wanted more than one option in life, which his town couldn’t give him. Though I didn’t include any of this in the piece itself, I had to come up with a back story to find out why he hated his town and wanted to leave it. Creating Blake’s character was interesting because I ended up using some of my feelings as his, and in the process I ended up learning more about myself. Writing about Blake helped me realize that the only person who can make your dreams come true is yourself. You can’t rely on others to give you what you want.

"In the process I ended up learning more about myself."

Thinking about why I love writing made me remember my second-grade teacher, Ms. Sedlock. Besides leading me into writing, Ms. Sedlock also made me really want to try in school. She was really the first teacher I wanted to impress. I think it’s really important for everybody to have a teacher that makes them want to do well in school, and I’m grateful that Ms. Sedlock was mine.

It started when Ms. Sedlock read a book to my class. At least once a day, she gathered us on the dusty blue carpet and picked out a book to read. As she examined the bookshelf before us, we wondered which story we’d get to hear. She was always encouraging us to read and write; to form our imaginations into something tangible. Whenever we did projects, art was always a big part of it. When we were studying Australia, we created a booklet filled with our own drawings of animals: dingos and wombats and koalas. Although I can’t recall the name of the book that Ms. Sedlock read that fateful afternoon, it was probably something by Patricia Polacco, one of her favorite authors. Ms. Sedlock held the book in her right hand and flipped the pages with her left, using different voices and facial expressions for each character. It felt like the story was happening right there in front of me, and not on a piece of 8×11 paper in crayon. After she finished reading, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow. That was a good story. I want to write one.” That’s it. There was no complicated reasoning. It was simply something I wanted to do.

Write a story I did. I sprawled on the scratchy carpet of my room, fighting through the terrible ache in my right hand. My story was handwritten on binder paper, and with each line the story narrowed and narrowed, until I could only fit three words on a line. After I wrote it, I didn’t have a sudden flash of realization that all I wanted to do was write. My passion for writing came slowly. I learned to love it. It didn’t matter that it was horrible, that my stories lacked character development and actual plots, because what did matter was not what I had written, but the happiness and pride that I felt when I was scratching my pencil against the paper, trying to write as fast as I could think.

How amazing that all of it was because my second-grade teacher decided to read us a book she loved, a book that inspired me and helped me find something I really, really enjoyed.
It doesn’t matter that I’m not the best writer or that I might never publish a book, because writing isn’t a job to me. It’s a passion. It’s something I do for myself alone. Writing gives me an outlet to release whatever I’m holding in. If I’m feeling insecure or stressed out, I take an hour-long break and just write. By the end, I always feel much better because I’ve found a way to let go of whatever negativity I’m feeling. I normally don’t share what I write because every bit of writing is like a piece of me, and I always find it a little embarrassing to show it to somebody. Without writing, I don’t think I ever would’ve found a way to express myself. Thank you, Ms. Sedlock.

Natalie Jakiemiec is 14 years old and attends Saint Mark’s School in California.

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