Raise your hand if you’re a nerd. Of any variety. Maybe you’re a little too into ballet. Or Star Trek. Or you’re the only girl ever to like Halo. You think Middle Earth is a real place. You study obscure facts about World War II aircraft. You’ve read every work in the library’s biography section. Go on; raise your hand if you’re a nerd.
I won’t laugh.
As soon as I was old enough to scrawl my name across the back of a library card, I lived in libraries: the county library, stately with a cupola on top, the children’s section in a warm cozy basement; the school library, with large windows along one whole wall and ugly blue-gray carpeting that made your knees itch. Librarians became the fairy godmothers and fathers who provided me with riches beyond compare.
I was on my way to Nerd-dom.
When I grew older, a number of factors contributed to making me a quiet and withdrawn teen. If I’d lived in libraries as a child, I lived in books as a teen. Here I found the safe harbor from the raging sea that is middle school. I had friends, I had hopes, I had dreams–all within the pages of book after book after book.
During these years I formed deep relationships with words, sentences, and paragraphs. I’d always written stories; now I explored essays, poetry, and imagined histories. Writing was personal and provided a place I felt safe. And it might have remained a private thing except for the Nerds.
As my stories grew longer and explored the angst and pain of growing up, I realized I didn’t want to keep my writing to myself any longer. I thought of all the libraries and classrooms filled with nerds like me. The time had come to pay forward all that I’d been given. (A tiny something–just a few drops in a rich ocean.) I felt pretty confident the world hadn’t run out of kids who needed a safe place to explore their questions and pain, or even to escape from those things. I began putting my stories out there because I had something I wanted to give back to the ‘tweens and teens that were like me: happiest in a book.
And then it happened last month. A quiet ‘tween approached me to tell me how much she’d enjoyed my book. I could see the conflict behind her eyes: I want to talk to this author; I don’t like talking to strangers. She was so brave it made my insides squirm. A part of me recognized a part of this young woman. I hope I told her thank you in a way that she could hear. I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of her courage that I have no idea what I actually said to her.
But I went home glad to have a job that lets me pay forward all the gratitude I feel for those librarians, those authors, those books that got me through the rough patches. I was a book-nerd. Ha! I still am. And I don’t think I’m alone.
Looking for more book-geekdom? Check out these authors on YA Indie Carnival:
Courtney Cole’s final book in the Bloodstone Saga is out! http://www.amazon.com/Courtney-Cole/e/B004Y4Z8ZU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Lexus Luke’s Manitou The Sky People Saga (30% of the royalties of go to the ASPCA) http://www.lexusluke.com/
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines releases Oct 21. Here is the book trailer: http://www.youtube.
For a limited time, get a signed copy of Kimberly Kinrade’s YA paranormal thriller/romance Forbidden Mind plus awesome gifts with each purchase. http://bit.ly/qGMQkz
Filter Giveaway on Gwenn Wright’s blog! http://hereventuality.
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2 Replies to “God Bless the Nerds”
Middle Earth is a real place, and anybody who says otherwise is just plain crazy!! Hi, my name is Julie and I am a nerd! When you were talking about your love of libraries since childhood it was like reading my own journal! My favorite memories as a child are of going to the library (I could walk by myself because it was only about 5 mins from home and the neighborhood I lived in was actually safe back then!), and bringing home stacks of picture books and first readers, then climbing the tree in our front yard and reading in the tree! I was also rather shy in high school and used to read all of the required reading the first week we got the book, which definitely did not enamor me to the class, so of course I learned to hide it and dumb it down a bit! I admire you for putting that love of reading to good use and becoming a writer 🙂 We need more nerd writers out there to make all of us geeks feel good! So here's to nerds and geeks everywhere – I raise my glass to us all!! (Yes, I'm also a bit over-dramatic, but where's the fun in being normal?) LOL Awesome post, Cidney 😀
Aw, Julie! I think I just found my long-lost twin! Yeah, I definitely remember dumbing it down as a survival technique. I love that you could run down to your library–awesome childhood memory (and gift!) Thanks for stopping by!