Somewhere around the age of 5, I discovered that words are powerful. They can transport readers to whole new worlds, they can deliver lasting cruel remarks, they can change the future. I’ve loved reading since I can remember, and I recall a time when I was reading a book I didn’t understand but I liked seeing the words anyway.

Then I learned that I could write words, too. I could memorialize a day in a diary entry, or I could ride my bike to the top of a hill and watch the sun set as I tried to describe it in fluffy poems. At a young age, I vowed to someday write a book. Letters got results, too: A complaint about moldy applesauce netted me two huge replacement jars along with a dish towel, another resulted in a significant class change in junior high, and another junior-high-era letter brought a chastened police officer to my door with an apology for his attitude.

It probably came as no surprise to most who knew me that I wound up in a career as a newspaper reporter. I was paid to ask questions, talk to people, dig up more information, then write it all down for everyone to read. I experienced and wrote about some of the craziest things most people don’t even imagine. It was a fun decade-long roller coaster ride that taught me much about life and myself.

I have since set out to rediscover that original love of words. Somewhere beneath the surface still lurks that never-fading dream of seeing my name on the spine of a book. Words have always shaped my life, and I like to shape them, too.

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