When I was in the fourth grade, I wrote my very first story. The story, written longhand in my Tweety notebook, was about a girl who got all her wishes granted.

She had a purple necklace that would grant the wishes whenever she wanted, wishes such as the ability to breathe underwater and to have a pet chimpanzee. I don’t know why I wrote the story, and I don’t know where it is now. But it was my first timid step into the addictive and crazy world of writing.

I’ve kept a journal for the past eleven years. Over time, I’ve learned to communicate better through writing than orally. Apparently I’m a quiet person. I don’t believe this at all, but it’s what people tell me.

The truth is, sometimes I find speaking to be incredibly difficult. When I speak, everything comes out unedited and jumbled up; when I write, I can take my time, read, re-read and choose appropriate words. I have a quiet voice when I talk, but when I write, the words on the page speak just as loudly as anyone else’s.

Over the years I’ve fallen into a pattern of writing – what I like to call “humorous romantasy”, a self-invented genre combining romance, fantasy and silliness. I’ve tried to write serious stuff, but I just can’t pull it off. It’s awful!

Example: a novella I wrote in November that dealt with issues of body image as told through a college-aged woman. I don’t even want to think about it.

It’s easier for me to communicate through writing than by speaking actual words. I write silly because it’s safer for me. Humor is a wall of protection around my quivering, vulnerable self. If I can get people to laugh at what I write, then they probably don’t hate me.

The wall isn’t necessarily a good thing, though. I often feel isolated because of my inability to reveal my inner self.

Someday I’ll have to grow up and learn to stop hiding my feelings. Until then, I have a final writing project to finish for my creative writing minor! And yes, it’s silly.