I have always loved to read, almost as much as I love to write. When I was younger I read absolutely everything form the classics to Stephen King, and somewhere between The Green Mile and The Catcher in the Rye, I found a book that spoke to me in a way that no other book ever had before. It’s like that moment when you see a film that leaves you speechless or you hear a song and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the lyricist penned those words about you.

That was exactly how I felt when I was seventeen and read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It was almost like the author had sat down, put pen to paper, and had taken feelings and thoughts right from my own head and put them down in a way that I had never managed. Here was this wonderful character named Charlie who was troubled, yes, but who was also dealing with so many things that I had often felt before. He struggled with the changes of growing up, with finding and keeping friends, with letting people go, with depression and with the way it feels to be a teenager. Here was a story about people¬† that I could relate to, a story that got inside my skin and left me with a feeling I couldn’t shake off. Here were people who spoke my language, of angst and of music, and most of all?

That book and that story made me want more than anything to be a writer. I had always had the love of words inside me, and I had always sought personal release in putting my thoughts and ideas out on the page. I had just never felt the full belief that this is what I could do with my life, that the things inside my head were what other people might want to read. I knew though that out there were others like me, who had felt so moved and so motivated by Charlie and his life, and that even after we had grown up there would be others who need to know that they were not alone.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower made me want to be an artist. I believe, completely, that there are writers and then there are artists. I know plenty of writers, good ones, who do not embody what it truly means to create art. To take words and to transform them into absolute raw emotion that takes someone’s breath away, even if it is just one person in a million. I am still to this day, eleven years after reading this book, trying to become an artist. I cut myself open emotionally and I bleed on paper and I hope that someone, someday, will read what I have penned and will feel the way that I felt all the way back in 2002. That is all I want out of my literary career, however big or small it may become.

If I can make just one person feel this way, if I can motivate just one someone out there in the wide world to embrace themselves and keep striving and yearning to create art…then I can consider myself an artist. And to me, personally, there is no higher honor. No matter what I do for a job, no matter how I live my life, I can make that happen…it will be a life so well lived.

-Samantha

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