Time to Introduce Myself!
Hi there, Medium! I think it’s about time I introduce myself properly to you. I’ve been meaning to for a while, but the pressure to post as much content as possible was getting in the way. No more!
I want to have fun and be genuine on this platform just as much as I want to expand and grow my audience, so I hope you will be kind enough to accommodate me on this small, non-review post.
Hi, I’m Amanda Starks!
That’s my ‘author name’, the one you will see me use in most public spaces. It’s very similar to my actual name ( only one letter off, believe it or not ), which sometimes gets confusing when I’m switching between Facebook profiles.
To start my story off, I grew up ‘fairly normally’ for a US native living in the early 2000s. I had a mom, a dad, a sister, and a dog. I lived in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house. I went to school, did my homework, and watched re-runs of Spongebob episodes on the weekends.
Look a little deeper though, and that’s when you start to see the cracks.
My parents fought a good deal ( ever seen your mom pull out a frying pan on your dad? It’s fun! ). My sister had a disorder known as Rett Syndrome which caused most of her normal functions to stop working. ER visits became normal. My neighborhood was full of pot dealers and car thieves. And my dog…well, he was just a good boy.
And me? I suffered from a major depressive disorder starting at the age of 14.
So yeah, maybe not the ‘ideal’ American family unit, but it was mine nonetheless, and without them, I wouldn’t be here wanting to be a fantasy author today.
So why become a writer, you may ask? Well, it’s quite simple.
Books were my #1 escape growing up.
I could have become addicted to anything: drugs, alcohol, gambling, food, porn, etc. Instead, it was the smell of a dusty book from the school library and the feeling of stepping into another world where anything was possible that kept me up late at night.
Reading was my addiction.
Later on, when my symptoms worsened and I came close to taking my own life, I realized that books like the ones I had grown up with needed to exist. But better yet, I wanted to write those books, and make them better.
Let’s be honest, books nowadays are much more diverse and offer a wider variety of representations for people with mental illness than they did ten years ago. I can count on one hand the number of times I felt seen in a fantasy book, which is atrocious in my eyes.
I wanted books with wounded characters, characters who felt sad for no reason, who felt darkness closing in from an invisible storm. I wanted characters I could look to when I was so down I couldn’t get out of bed. I wanted to relate to someone or something, and not feel so alone. I still want those characters all these years later.
So I said, to hell with it, and began writing.
Now, here I am, writing this to you with hundreds of thousands of words tucked safely onto my many drives and folders and backups. It’s taken years, but I’ve finally settled on a project that I’m happy with and plan on publishing in the near future.
My hope? My dream? My passion? My drive?
I want to connect to one person out there who was and is like me, someone who struggles to find a reason to keep going. Someone who needs something to go back to when everything else burns around them. I want to be the support and the connection that I needed as a teen going through mental illness.
And that is why I want to be a writer!
A shout out to Christopher Grant who wrote an insightful article you can read here which convinced me to finally write a more personal post. Definitely go check it out if you need a nice push in the right direction for writing!