K: Kelly, The Life and Times of a Writer Named


Kelly is born in Biloxi, Mississippi, in a hospital hallway whilst Hurricane Carmen roars outside. Later, she feels thankful that her mother didn’t think to name her after the storm.
Somehow, Kelly begins Kindergarten at age 4. Her favorite thing to do in class is draw, and play in a large wooden rocker shaped like a small boat.
A huge celebration is planned to honor Kelly’s 5th birthday. She throws a diva-sized fit, mortified that the “Wonder Woman” on her cake has blonde hair instead of black.
Kelly’s mom begins taking her and her sister, Shannon, to the local library. The children’s section is on the second story. A huge bubble shaped window is set into one of the walls. Kelly spends many hours sitting in the bubble, able to see straight down to the entryway beneath her. Her favorite times are spent here, reading and watching the people come and go.
One rainy day in 2nd Grade, Kelly’s class joins another classroom for recess indoors. The teacher reads a book to them that she has never heard before: Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein. Kelly falls in love with poetry.
Too impatient to wait for the beginning the school year, Kelly pesters her mother to teach her to write in cursive over the summer. She spends the rest of the summer lying in the sunshine provided from the long bench window of their living room. She loops her l’s and makes long, luxurious rows of o’s until her hand is coated with a thick sheet of graphite and her fingers cramp.
Kelly’s 4th grade teacher gives extra credit for every poem written. Many late nights are spent with a flashlight beneath her blankets, writing poem after poem after poem. She writes herself right through one of the most difficult years of her childhood.
The library becomes her best friend. She grazes through the aisles, consuming everything she can put her hands on. By the end of middle school she has finished the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Louisa May Alcott, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, along with many of Agatha Christie’s books, which she loves. When she tires of fiction, she decides to make her way through several books on Freud and Jung.
She and her best friend read through all of the Sweet Valley High Series and everything Christopher Pike writes. After school, they write plays and act them out.
She keeps a folder with her at all times and writes poetry during class, and at night she sits behind a blue computer screen and types out one short story after another.
Jane magazine is one of Kelly’s favorite lazy reads. Each month they publish a story called “It Happened to Me”. Kelly labors for weeks over a story explaining the car accident she was in and how it changed her life. Afraid her parents will see it, she prints it out and deletes it from the family computer.
She gives it to her English teacher and asks her to proofread it so she can send it in.
The teacher loses it, and she never sees it again.
Kelly’s new English teacher asks the class to write a poem about a wall, after reading Robert Frost’s Mending Wall. She writes a poem about the emotional walls that people put up. Her teacher berates her in class, saying she obviously didn’t understand the assignment.
She will never forget this moment.
In 11th grade, Kelly’s English class delves into the world of creative writing. She writes plays, short stories, and poetry. She has never been happier in school. Her teacher writes back detailed comments and she realizes the impact of words well written.
She journals. Off and on. Daily. Or not. Carries snippets of words and quotes and stories around wherever she goes. Words run through her life like blood through a body.
Kelly’s runs an online zine called The Persnickety Poet, accepting submissions and posting poems each month.
Through online text-based gaming, Kelly invents characters, writes backstory, and brings them to life. She dabbles in game code and writes room descriptions, mythology Creation stories for new worlds, and random NPC’s (Non Player Characters).

She also falls in love with Neil Gaiman.
Life gets in the way, the words come slowly now, like the scattered rain showers before the storm.
The National Writing Project relights her fire.
She completes her first young adult novel.
With a few picture books written, she begins edits on the novel and heads off on the road to publication.

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