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When I was fourteen, I read Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray numerous times over the course of one summer. The words drew me in, lifted me up, and released me from the straightjacket of DNA dysfunction I experienced while outside of their spell. Six hundred and seventeen pages documenting a world I had never been formally introduced to but had stumbled upon, quite by accident, in the discard box at the local library.

I longed to be able to create snapshots with words just as Thackeray had and diligently scrawled my pain and fourteen-year-old desires, such as they were, in dozens of college-rule notebooks. To be the author of my very own “Novel Without A Hero” felt so close to me that I could feel the warm breath of literary success brush my cheek to deposit the words, “It will come true,” in my ear. 

This is why I write…