In 1990, I was in my third year of university, and the couple living in the apartment across the hall from me played Dungeons and Dragons. They were kinda emo and kind of odd, but then, so was I.
My neighbors invited me to join them on a D&D "quest". It was my first year at Acadia (I transferred from the University of Western Ontario), and hadn't met any friends yet, so I joined them. I don't remember how long I played with them. In my memory, it was just a couple times, but when I think about the campaigns we did, and that I developed two characters, I guess it must have been quite a bit longer. Curse my terrible memory!
My first character was a human girl who wanted to become a wizard. Her name was Frew and she had a terribly tragic backstory (of course). She earned her falconry skill and got a falcon. It was the first time I ever remember contemplating writing a creative story. I told myself that one day, if I ever wrote a book, I would write Frew's story.
And...I did. It was angsty and full of "purple prose" and just plain bad. I called it The Knotted Heart. (Doesn't that just scream angst?)
But it started me on a journey of my own that has led to many of my favorite life moments.
Frew was a child whose parents were servants in a kingdom's household. The castle was attacked by an enemy kingdom, and every single person was viciously murdered—except for Frew, whose parents had hid her in a dumbwaiter.
A long time after the attack, Frew came out of hiding to find not a single soul alive. She vowed to discover who had murdered her family and make them pay. The rest of her journey was about learning the skills necessary to destroy the warring kingdom.
On the flip side, there was the enemy's son, who was being raised up to follow his father in his evil wizarding ways. Then...something, something, there was a book that the evil sorcerer thought would end love in the entire world, but really it was all about protecting and uplifting love.
Or...something like that.
Needless to say, the book has never been read by anyone but me, and I generally try hard to forget it.
Except to remind myself, especially when I'm feeling insecure about my writing, that no matter where I am, I've already come so far. And isn't it grand that life's all about changing and improving? Maybe I'll be the kind of awesome I dream of being some day.