What is Phoenix?

About ten years ago I was but a fifteen-year-old high school student. I was by no means the best student in the world, or for that matter the hardest working. But I tried, when I felt like it.

One area I always tried in was creative writing, from a young age I found myself obsessed with reading, and by extension writing. I had a pretty good upbringing, but for one reason or another I never quite got on with many other young people. I did of course have some friends, but as is the case with most school friends, they were built on superficial foundations, which crumbled when tested to any degree. Reading for me, was a form of escapism, one that I reveled in, as depending on the book I was reading at the time, I could be anywhere or find out anything. I love science fiction and fantasy books as a genre, but often found myself getting too attached to the characters, I would be heartbroken when I finished a book as it meant I no longer had time to spend with those characters.

And then I started writing, mostly I would write short stories which were parodies or extensions of books or TV shows I liked, in essence fan fiction, but as I was quite young I was not yet familiar with the fan fiction forums which comprise many domains within cyberspace. It wasn’t until I was in high school that my family got the first Internet accessible computer in our house; thus any extended adventures which the characters I had come to know and love had become limited only to my imagination. I recall many an hour after primary school, devoted to the adventures of a young Pokémon trainer from Fallin but these stories alas do not seem to have survived the test of time. Perhaps though, that’s for the best.

For a long time that is all writing was to me, an extra episode of a show I liked or a secret lost chapter of a book which I had enjoyed reading, most of the things I wrote were unfortunately never even kept. However, the purpose of the stories I wrote was to entertain me, and so they fulfilled their purpose and gave me a life long passion for storytelling.

I digress however; back to fifteen-year-old Darren and his favorite original short story. I wrote a short story as part of a writing task for my fourth year English portfolio and for years it sat in a folder in my bedroom, and then by absolute coincidence an American woman, who also happened to be an author moved into my house (a story I promise to tell you one day, but it deserves a post of it’s own). Within no time at all she had become a friend, a confidante, and an inspiration. I read some of her work, and was hooked, I realized quite early after I met her, that writing wasn’t just something, which I could do to entertain myself; I could actually begin to tell a story. The story I had then was just one short story which I was proud of, but she read it critically, and the feedback she gave me filled me with such confidence, that I felt I could do anything.

I began to plan how the story could develop and how I could go on to tell it.

Five years later, I am still getting ready to tell my story, but it is not quite the same story as the one I started with. It has grown and become it‘s own universe, populated with characters I know better than myself. It has grown and evolved and while some aspects of the original short story are still present, the world that has developed from it has far surpassed what I ever hoped it could. The main story is still in development, and due to time restrictions because of my job and study obligations I haven’t been able to write as often as I would like to over the years, but now I reach a time in my life where I can afford to readdress what is important to me. Everyone has to start somewhere and for me, today is the beginning of the rest of my life.

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