And even though I knew not to take her seriously, I wasn't yet confident enough to toss the remark away. I read in secret, always immersed in the library books I borrowed each week. I have to thank my father for introducing me to this world of wonder. We visited the Mamaroneck, New York public library every weekend and while he perused the upstairs shelves of adult fiction, I was allowed to stay in the children's room and find my own treasures of words and pictures and, later as I grew, just words.
I would read anything I could get my hands on, including an incomplete set of second-hand encyclopedias we owned There was so much information! Imagine my delight with the birth of the internet and its vast, never-ending supply of words - words that are massaged and manipulated into thoughts and stories and opinions and reports.
Today, my dream of writing a book of my own has been realized. Although not published yet, it will be available very soon. It's not the kind of book I thought I would ever write based on the dozens of story ideas I've kept over the years in notebooks and on scraps of paper and in my head. It's a story I had to tell - about my dance with death and its aftermath. Writing Dying to Live: Running backwards through cancer, Lupus and Chronic Illness was therapy; four hard years of self-realization and healing. I am so glad it's over.
But it's done and I have a choice. I can grasp onto my fiction book ideas and delve into characters that are not real but reveal themselves through my imagination or I can continue writing non-fiction based on my upcoming foray into integrative/functional medicine. I can even stop and not write at all. I think, for me, that would be like not breathing.
As author Ray Bradbury said to a group of students who wanted to become writers:
"You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world."
My friend was right. I am a nerd.