“We read to know we are not alone.”–C. S. Lewis.
When my parents were killed in a road accident when I was 14, I searched for books that would relate to how I was feeling, but none of the grief books talked about the weird emotions and thoughts I was having. None of them spoke about the horror, the terror, the waking nightmare I was living. Terrible visions filled my head and I thought I was going crazy. I read about the “five stages of grief” and was angry and confused . . . “Why are my stages so different, so jumbled?”
As a result I felt completely alone.
Before the accident I always imagined myself doing something creative when I “grew up.” I just wasn’t sure what it would be. So, years later, I tried it all! I joined a theater company and became an actress, worked as a newspaper journalist, traveled the world, studied fashion design and started my own label, moved to America and worked in the fashion industry for Versace and other designers, worked on magazine photo shoots with Hollywood celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Jim Carey, Jennifer Aniston, and Hilary Duff, and ran bookstore events for authors including Meg Cabot, Dav Pilkey, Ellen DeGeneres, and the Osbournes.
So many careers, so many adventures . . . but something was missing.
There was something inside of me that I needed to express. I just didn’t know how.
Then one day I started to remember things from my childhood–the happy time before the accident. Scared that I would lose the memories again, I started writing them down. Before I knew it, I was writing a book about my life.
I never imagined I would write a book, let alone one about my parents’ deaths. I was crazy about books growing up (see my list below), but I thought only people with other- worldly powers actually wrote them, not people like you and me!
But I figured I’d give it a try.
I decided to write Grief Girl in my 14—18 year old voice, so when you read it you feel like you’re there with me. That was the hardest part, because in order to do that I had to relive everything I went through–the night of my parents’ accident, the funerals, going back to school, and just trying to get on with my life. Day after day I would sit at my computer, take myself back in time, and type without pausing, until a story was finished.
People always ask me what was it like to write about something so sad. Well, it was much harder than I thought.
Dredging up those memories was painful. Some days I would sit at my computer and cry and other days I would be so exhausted I would be only able to write for 15 minutes at a time.
So what kept me going? The thought that one day someone might read my book and feel less alone, or see that it’s possible to come through something terrible in your life.
Writing Grief Girl was difficult, but it was worth it.
You know, given the chance I wouldn’t change the past. It has made me who I am.
And who am I? I’m a person who knows from experience that life is precious. It can be over in an instant, so you’ve got to make the most of it.
My motto is: It’s not what happens to you, but what you do with it.
So, if you’re reading this, just go for it! Follow your dreams, because anything is possible!
The books that have inspired me:
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend, The Color Purple by Alice Walker. There are so many more books and authors I love . . . too many to mention here. If you’re curious, check out my list at www.myspace.com/griefgirl