A word after a word after a word is power.” -Margaret Atwood

There once was a little brunette girl who was sitting at the kitchen table with her grandmother. On the table sat a Lisa Frank, purple and pink diary with a silver key. There was a new shiny pen, part of a seventh year birthday present, that rested next to the book. Neither the diary nor the pen had been touched, but that was about to change. 

The girl’s grandmother, in her quiet, but distinct voice, said, “Ready to open it?”

The girl eagerly turned the silver key in the lock and opened the diary to the first page. She smiled as she saw the line next to the word, “Name.” Picking up the pen, she carefully wrote her name and the date. She hadn’t written with a pen before. Pens seemed to be the dangerous writing utensil. Making a mistake or an accidental mark meant that it couldn’t be erased. The little girl didn’t like to make mistakes. Pencils were safer, and mistakes could be fixed, but this was a special pen, and it was ok with grandma if she used it. 

 “This book is empty right now,” her grandmother said. “You get to fill it up however you wish. You can write, draw, and put anything you think about in this book. You could start by writing, ‘Dear Diary’.” Perplexed, the girl looked up at her grandmother. “Diary? I’m not writing to a diary.” The logical, literal interpretations of the seven year old made her grandmother chuckle. “No, honey, but you can write to whoever you’d like, and you can write however you’d like.” 

The girl opened to the next page, and there were more blank lines to be filled. Favorite song, favorite movie, favorite friends, etc. The organization of this book was already exciting to her. 

“What will you write first?” Grandmother asked the seven year old.

“Well, I don’t want to write, ‘Dear Diary’ for this one,” she responded. 

Smiling with her eyes twinkling behind her gold glasses, she said, “That’s ok, honey. Write whatever you’d like.”

Without much hesitation, the little brunette replied, “A poem! A poem about apples.” It was a chilly September day, but inside at the kitchen table it was warm. She also was starting to feel hungry. Apples and fall weather seemed to be a good thing this time of year.

‘Picking apples is fun to do; eating them is even better for you. Apple butter and apple cakes, these are the things an apple makes…’ 

The first diary entry, completed. She felt accomplished, and she didn’t make any mistakes using that pen for the first time! The diary and pen were left at the table, as the girl and her grandmother walked to the other room to join the rest of the family for the remaining part of the birthday celebration. The little girl may have spent more time writing, however the excitement of dessert happening soon was enough for the poem to temporarily come to an end.

Little did she know, but unlocking the diary with the silver key was what opened this little girl’s heart to writing. The purple and pink book was a special place to write anything, and to tell a story, maybe to someone who might read it someday. It was a place safe to make mistakes, even if writing with a pen. It was the place to share pieces of her heart—one of the most beautiful things created by God. 

In the days ahead, the little girl’s fascination for writing and books grew.  She liked to read, but even more she loved to create her own stories and drawings. To answer the question of her favorite book genre would require an entirely separate one of journals, notebooks, and doodle pads, complete with sharpened #2 pencils, a pink pet eraser, and some sparkly fine-point markers (only for special occasions). She loved the setup or organization of these books. They were unique and special to whoever wrote in them. The beginning of the journals or doodle pads would show the past drawings and stories written. Looking back at the beginning reminded her of where she began, and what she learned along the way—how stories and drawings become more beautiful over time, especially if a new box of crayons or a new pen or pencil was purchased at the grocery store.  At the end of the day, she felt a sense of accomplishment, and an eager anticipation for the days to come and the blank pages ahead. Maybe someday the blank pages would all be filled, and maybe there would be more diaries as she got older. Minutes of writing and doodling transformed to hours of time spent with a writing utensil and paper for the little girl. As vocabulary increased, as spelling words advanced, and grammar awareness grew, writing became a passion that has since never faded. Her hand and mind would reach points of exhaustion toward the end of the day. The pencil would be dull, and the last line would be filled. The sun would set, and the little girl would close the diary, locking it gently with the silver key.