Modern-Day Shakespeare

I should have been born with my fingers permanently glued to a keyboard. From the age of five, I’ve known that I want to be a professional writer: a journalist, a novelist, a modern-day Shakespeare, maybe. Okay, not Shakespeare. Will used to give me terrible headaches back in my freshman year as I tried to figure out what he was talking about in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Macbeth in my sophomore year was much easier to understand.

Regardless, I’m practically addicted to books, whether I’m reading or writing them. I can’t go a single day without writing something – a short story, a novel chapter, an article – and if I do, I feel a tingling in my fingers, an itch that won’t go away until I sit in front of a computer or pick up a well-sharpened pencil and just let my thoughts out.

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I can be inspired by anything: an expression, a song, a movie. Once I get inspired, it’s like a series of bells going off in my mind, the gears turning faster and faster as I spin out one possible story after another. Ghosts? Vampires? Shape-shifters? What about bogeymen, fairies, and…Desis? Well, why not let my Desi – my South Asian – heritage inspire me too?My extended, very Desi family is so widespread that whenever I meet with a cousin or an aunt I only vaguely remember, I tell him or her I’m a writer because I know it will distinguish me from all the other “kids” in the family and make me memorable. I tell my relatives about the stories I used to write as a child, the projects I’m working on now, and why I’m working so hard to make a breakthrough in the competitive world of publishing. One aunt hugged me and told me, “Just don’t forget about the rest of us when you become the next J.

K. Rowling.”Smiling, I replied, “Don’t worry, I won’t.” Call it a hunch, intuition, or confidence, but I know that I will become the next J.K. Rowling. I have the ambition, I have the means, and I have the talent.

My English and History teachers don’t praise my writing and tell me I have an innate writing talent because they want to be nice – they know how passionate I am about writing, and how that passion slips through my fingertips to the paper.I don’t really know why I love writing so much, I just do. There’s something about putting a story down on paper for friends halfway across the globe to read and understand, about finding just the right word to describe what I can see so clearly in my head, that lures me in like a siren’s song. Writing makes me who I am.Maybe I just want to leave my mark on the world, and since I can’t sing if my life depended on it or have the patience to create a majestic work of art – although I am a pretty decent actor, and a guitar recital in my sophomore year permanently rid me of my state fright…but acting doesn’t seem like the right path for me – I’ve chosen writing to make a name for myself. Sara B., novelist, journalist, graduate of Columbia University.

It has a nice ring to it.

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