Dear Young A.M. Bostwick
You love to write.
You know you do.
You started writing before you truly knew what it was. Before spelling made sense, before books created entire worlds in your head, before the newspaper had a purpose, before books filled your shelves and the space under your bed.
You’ve loved stories since as long as you can remember. Hearing them, telling them. To the dog, to the cat, to your sister, to the trees. Maybe most of all, to yourself.
You’ve always been creating, somewhere inside of you. All that creation will have one outlet for you that will never be rivaled by another: The pen and the page. The keyboard and the monitor. The little corner of your mind you keep for Ideas.
Don’t give up.
Elementary school will be tough, and it will tire you out. You won’t want to tell yourself stories at the end of the day when you can’t figure out your math homework. A girl named Emerald will laugh at you for writing in a notebook at lunch instead of gossiping with the others girls. Junior high will challenge you, but it’s also where you’ll start to find your favorite authors, authors who inspire you to not only keep reading, but to start writing in that notebook again. And maybe another. The teacher who tells you you're the best writer of your year, will stay with you for life. High school will harden you, and you’ll think writing is a superfluous path that will never give you a real job or real purpose. A guy named Matt will laugh when he comes across your screenplay draft and ask if that’s what you do for fun.
Listen to the beat of your heart. Listen to the scratch of your pen. The buzz of light bulb that you write by deep into the nights when no one else is around. Except the cat. And the dog. Plus yourself, who all have always listened.
Forget, when in college, people will tell you story-telling is for hobby writers and dreamers who never make it anywhere and can't afford to eat.
Keep that unfinished file.
Keep that notebook.
Keep their sparks of life that haven't quite formed to a full literary fire yet.
And when life corners you, through circumstance and declining health, and through years you cannot find anything to comfort you but the all the stories you’ve ever told yourself – and the ones begging yet to come out – keep going. Ask for help from other writers. Authors. Librarians. Friends. Family. Ask. I know you don't like to.
You’ll get there. You got there. And you’ll keep going, even past this.
And never, ever, stop reading.