When I was 17, I made my escape from the revolving door of drugs that kept me wandering around in circles. I would push the glass door in front of me, constantly staring at the exit, telling myself I would leave the confined passage I brought myself into. Eventually I did, with a rehabilitation facility guiding me by the hand into the building of adulthood. I had nowhere to start. Throughout the four years of walking in circles, some people stuck by my side, willing to exert more energy into helping me than I was worth, and others vanished. I told myself that there was a way I was going to pay my dues to society. I dedicated my life to a path of helping, and decided to come to school to become a professor.
While on the path to professorship, I entered through the door into the creative writing room. The room started off as being dimly lit; I couldn’t see the sunlight through the windows that would guide me to the gold-tinted world of teaching. Then I wrote my first non-fiction piece. Streaks of light flooded into the room and created steps that ascended closer to the sun than my original goal would’ve taken me. I learned that if I transcribed the experiences that I went through into words that are accessible by any literate person, I could help them learn from my experiences. If I coupled creative writing with the goals that I have already laid out for myself, then the possibility of people who I could possibly help might be endless. I could teach, in the most traditional sense of the word, or I could show the life lessons that I’ve experienced, so if somebody was stuck in a similar circular motion, then they could straighten out and continue forward. But literary citizenship added an entirely different dynamic to the extrinsic value I’ve been searching for.
I view literary citizenship as my ability to both assist other in their goal of becoming writers and introducing stories that could teach into the world of readers who might miss out on the ability to read something influential. My life goal is to help, and literary citizenship allows me to do that.