Sunday, September 4, 2011

Justine D.: Reader, Writer Origins

Hi Musers!

*waits for the: ‘Hi, Justine’*

This is my first post here at MuseitUp Publishing Blog. The first of many, I hope. Currently, I’m a content editor for Muse, and I must say: I love my job! No, really. I really love my job. Office Max (I love red pens!), libraries, and bookstores are my version of nirvana—and wouldn’t you know, I’ve always been like that.

As per this month’s blog theme ‘Back to School,’ I’ve decided to share just how I came to be the book-sniffer I am now. (Yes, I said book-sniffer. I love the smell of books—and smell them…often. (Makes me sound like a crack-head, doesn’t it? LOL))

 Reader Origin(s): K-6th Grade

I started reading at the age of five. I will never forget it. My mother was sitting on the toilet and I, in my childish obnoxiousness, just barged into the bathroom and proclaimed I was going to read to her while she peed. My mother, accustomed to her rather ‘out-going’ child’s complete disregard of social boundaries or privacy, just raised her eyebrows and nodded. So, I sat down and started reading to her. It was about five minutes before she realized I was, in fact, actually reading. When she finally noticed and asked me if I was, actually reading, I raised my brows at her and decided she wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box.

From then on, my mother showered me with books and I read. I read everything I could and I’m not sure if it was because I actually enjoyed reading or if that’s all there was for me to do.

You see, I was a bad kid.

No, really, I was. Both my parents were in the Navy, so I spent a lot of my time alone. Naturally, I got into shit. I was always in trouble and I had the temper from hell. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve got detention for fighting at school or on the school bus. Also, I wasn’t a TV watcher. I never was. I don’t know why, but TV bores me. Ever since I was little, I’ve found more entertainment going out and actually doing things as opposed to watching other people do them.
As you can imagine, it was hard to keep me entertained. I didn’t get along with a lot of the neighborhood kids (more often than not, I’d fought them at one point or another) and so I spent a lot of time alone. So, I read.

Writer Origin(s): 7th-12th Grade

During middle school, I picked up my first romance and a great love was born. More importantly, my seventh grade year was the year I discovered Fan-fiction. Yep. A few girls were talking about it in the lunch room and I looked up on my computer when I got home. Well, I fell in love with the story they’d been jabbering about. I was a fanatic. I would check the site every day to see if she’d updated the story.

Also, that very same year, I read S.E. Hinton’s ‘The Outsiders’—and the ending pissed me off. So I took out a piece of loose-leaf paper and I re-wrote it. Yep. I still have it to. In my version of the Outsiders no one dies. *smile*

Well, after I re-wrote parts of that book, I kind of went on a rampage and rewrote entire chapters of various books I’d read that hadn’t ended the way I wanted them to or were missing something here, etc. Finally, one day in math class, I decided I wanted to write my own story because the alternative was listening to my teacher prattle on about crap I didn’t care about. So, I did. I took out a sheet of loose leaf paper and I wrote. I never actually posted the story online. I think I was too afraid of criticism or, maybe, I just couldn’t stop writing long enough to actually type up what I’d written.

Yep. From the time I started writing my own story, I couldn’t stop writing. I wrote all day long, on loose leaf paper with whatever writing utensil I could find. I would carry a black binder with me at all times and I didn’t even both to bring anything else to class.

And, well, the rest is history…

I still have the three books I wrote this way. They’re sitting in a chest I keep in my office. I think I keep them for good luck.

In high school, I really dove into reading. I still wrote, but not nearly as intensely. Nope. Instead, I read. Once again, I didn’t do anything but read. I didn’t bring anything to class but a book (a romance novel, of course.) Why bother? I look back and I’m amazed I graduated with Honors. I missed 50+ days of school my senior year because I decided, I’d rather be home…reading.

So, I’m sure we’re all wondering how the hell I became an editor. *shrug*

I actually never had any intention of becoming an editor. However, when I starting pursuing writing seriously, I found editing just came natural to me. I’m not sure. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve read so many books or something else, but editing just comes second nature to me. Hell, even back when I was re-writing scenes and chapters of already published books in middle school I was performing an editor’s function. However, it took my critique partner to give me the final nudge. She’s a bully that way. I love her.

Well, those are my reading and writing origins. Thanks for reading!

-Justine Darkholme


Roseanne Dowell said...

Thanks for sharing with us, Justine. I bet Lea will love the part about you barging in on your mother.

Pat McDermott said...

Sounds like you enjoy reading, Justine :) Wonderful examples of how reading influences a child's development. Glad you're with Muse.

Justine Darkholme said...

ROSEANNE: You're welcome! I'm sure Lea will think that part is funny too. :-)

PAT: I really do love reading, Pat. For a long time, I used to say everything good I'd ever learned, I learned from a book. It really does influence I child's developement.