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When I grew older, a number of factors contributed to making me a quiet and withdrawn teen.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.
blogspot.com/2011/10/von-. The Paranormal Plumes Haunted Book Tour in Savannah Halloween Weekend!http://www.theplumessociety. strassenbergs-giving-it-away. html com/