In answer to the basic question, “How did you get into writing?” Michelle Tran wrote:
Locked in a bedroom of white walls with a tiny brown-spotted dog standing guard beside me, I surrounded myself with library books that smelled oddly of unwashed jeans, adventures, and dreams. Page after page I turned, fighting to drown out the sound of reality just outside my door.
Reality for thirteen-year-old me sounded an awful lot like my mother’s muffled cries, and my father’s deep voice, shaking the foundation of our home. And yet, as the days, weeks, and months went on, I, too, read on.
There was no ‘thing’ or ‘aha moment’ that got me into writing. Rather, it was this period of time in my life that planted and nurtured my love of words. This tough moment in my childhood led me to books, and unregretfully I was hooked on them, devouring all I could like a drug, relishing in that temporary high that could always be fixed with another.
Yet in all the books I consumed, I struggled to understand what was happening outside my door. I had this vain hope that the answers were bound in these precious books. But when no truth could be found, I refused to give up. So I started to write. And write and write I did, creating my own answer, my own explanation of why this horrible thing could be happening under our roof.
As writers, I think we try to take things that are inexplicable and try to make sense out of them. It’s like trying to remember all the details of a dream and painting it onto a canvas, giving it a whole new meaning. At least, that’s what it was like for me at thirteen.
At the time, domestic violence was a foreign concept to me. All I knew was, I wanted it to be over. Whatever that meant. And maybe if I could make sense of it, I could find a solution then we would all finally be free.
To my dismay, it only started an unquenchable thirst for stories. Suddenly I had to know about my mother, my father, their individual stories that led them to this moment, the changes they had undergone, and where their decisions would lead them. Instantly I had zapped them into characters and life as we knew it became some sort of book, penned by an unknown author.
It didn’t stop with my parents. As I grew up, the people I encountered were no exception. How honored I felt when someone would share their own anecdotes with me. There was no better gift than hearing tales that were entrusted to me. I finally came to the realization that the world was filled with stories. Imagined and real. You just had to listen for them.
And listened I did when my own characters popped into my own mind, sharing stories of their own. Alas! Through the windy, twisty road we call life, I had unknowingly fallen for the craft. I could not resist preserving those stories.
To this day, I’m still unable to resist the siren’s call of a good story. You’ll find me reading, journaling, and writing, probably until you have to pry said object out of my hands.
One day, I hope a story of mine will be bounded into a book. And perhaps, just maybe, a young child in the confines of their room will find some escape, solace, or answer of their own between the pages.
Michelle Tran is a blogger, poet, and an aspiring YA writer.