Author: Meena Jelks

In high school I used to carry around this ratty, beat up black and white composition notebook. Inside, I wrote about everything in an incoherent babble, which eventually cultivated into much more than I ever could have imagined.

Every day I wrote, it was my escape from my life. Writing filled many voids for me when I was young and the more I wrote, the less I felt alone. Writing was my refuge, my sunny day. I needed it more than water or fresh air.

Over time, life got in the way and I noticed I didn't write as much. I honestly just started taking my writing serious again. So much has happened while my pen and notebook lie on the shelf in my closet. I got a few degrees, traveled, lived a little, lost a lot of loved ones, cut all of my hair off, gained a lot of confidence, had a couple of amazing jobs, lived in a lot of different places, became a mom and cut all of my hair off again.

In retrospect I understand that I had to go through these things in order to become a better version of myself...a better writer. Now I don't write in a dusty old composition notebook in between classes and after school. I write by the light of the moon while my young son is asleep in his bed. I write about characters who face adversity but somehow manage to overcome it all. It's therapeutic to write about self-discovery, the newness of learning about life and about young love. In writing I can have as many do-overs as I possibly can dream of. It's important to me to help young girls identify with strong-minded girls who know how to follow their hearts without compromising their standards. I find a little piece of myself in every character I write about. From vulnerable Anna, who desperately lashes out to feel loved, to Gaby, whose roller-coaster of emotions journeys from a naive girl to a strong force to be reckoned with and everyone in between.

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