I’ve been a writer my whole life. I remember writing short stories and making up dreams I never actually had since I was 7. I always wanted to write a book, but it was too much of a dedication. Instead I wrote tons of short stories or random excerpts from books I never finished.
I began writing poetry in seventh grade. We read a poem by Felix Pollak called, “Speaking: The Hero,” in English class. It inspired me to write in a new way.
I started writing my first fiction novel when I was 16. At 18, it was two-thirds finished. But two things happened, 1 – my book was stolen. I was in Vancouver, Canada with a friend and our car was broken into. The only thing stolen was my backpack, which had rolls of film, my notebooks, and the book I was writing. All worthless to the robber, but priceless to me. The second thing, I was a completely different person at 18 than I was at 16. I was having a hard time keeping the book on one level. There was definitely a welcomed progression as the book continued on, but my writing style changed so drastically, you would have thought the book had two authors. Anyhow, that book was never finished.
When I returned from my 3 month road trip, in which I had been robbed in Canada, I started working at a preschool in the year 2000. I have continued to care for kids in some way or another since. My grandmother always thought I should write children’s books, but I found the art work to be rather daunting. In 2012, I was inspired to write my first kid’s book, The Lost Piece. The artwork in it is rather simple, but I felt it was an important message to get out. I decided if Bob Dylan can be a beloved singer, why can’t I be an illustrator.
From there the ideas for different children’s books have constantly infested my brain. Only about 1% of which actually come into manifest. I’m always looking for new ways to deal with the challenge that is the illustrations. Finding new and creative ways to create them. With this, each book has been illustrated in a different way. Acrylics, water colors and crayons, diorama, recycled fabric, yarn, sand, clay, and computer graphic images. While I find the artwork difficult, it’s also my favorite part. I think kids can relate to the offbeat, unique format they’re in.
Traveling has also been a passion of mine. As a kid, I always wondered why we never moved. Why we continued to live in the same town and same house. Shouldn’t we experience something new? At age 16, I graduated high school and was granted the permission of my parents to set out on adventures with friends: a trip to the beach, weekend camping, a week in West Virginia, or a weekend to Las Vegas. But I always dreamed of just taking off in my car with no direction and exploring the country. At 18, a friend and I finally did just that. We spent 3 months on the road and crossed the country from coast to coast 4 times in that epic road trip (you can read about it here). I’ve since changed my travel style drastically. Moving at a bit slower pace these days. Now at age 36, my greatest pleasure is still to be on the open road. Whether on a month long exploration of 1 single state or my more recent journey exploring the west coast. There is nothing like being out with all your possessions, your home on your back, nothing in front and nothing behind. Meeting new people, experiencing a different way of life, seeing the world through someone else’s eyes, a change in perspective, and enjoying all the beauty our country has to offer.
Through writing and photography, I hope to encourage other people to travel, explore and experience more. To break out of their shell, to step outside the box, to embrace the crazy within, to put themselves out there, to take a chance.