And I would be incomplete without the words


Natalie Mix

A bookstore that I visited in Boyne City, Michigan. I bought a copy of “Romeo and Juliet” for one dollar.

The book-filled crates mounted to my bedroom walls house more than just the words of writers who came before me; my own words fill notebooks piled one upon another on top of the crates, only a fraction of the many empty copies that rest below them. 

My Google Drive is filled with the beginnings of stories that occupied the corridors of my mind for years at a time and barely developed concepts for columns and reviews. I wrote my first column three years ago and my first short story two years ago, but I’ve been writing—something, anything—since I learned to read. 

Now I’m staring down the barrel of a college essay, tri-weekly editor’s columns, bi-weekly profiles and features, weekly opinion stories, a poetry book, and unforeseeable additional writing assignments for AP Lit. 

I’ve stacked my afternoons and evenings with words in any form I can have them, and the last week has proven that this is my dream senior year. 

I laud the ability my words have to capture each moment in time, to save their golden shadows in the nooks and crannies of this website, to fleetingly mention the fragile wings of butterflies beating their wings in perfect unison and save this, all of this, to be reminisced upon later.

I’m most comfortable between the aisles of any bookstore, letting my fingers trail the spines of books I’ve read, books I want to read, books I’ve never heard of. I can’t leave the library without a towering pile that I will inevitably fail to make my way through, but I let myself continue because it reminds me of the little girl who could make it through that stack. 

And I’ve always formed an attachment to my English teachers, envied their trade in words. I envision myself an English major, alongside Political Science of course, spending my time in the library of whatever college I stumble upon and consuming every word I’ve dreamed to read, and maybe, just maybe, someday seeing my name on the spine of a book. 

I truly don’t think I need the accolades or for everyone to know my name, not that it wouldn’t be nice. I think I just want my words to be heard, but I guess you could say they already are. I want to know though, want to know how my words were heard. 

I often think of all the writers who came before me: the greats, especially the females who had to fight for their right to be heard, paving the path for my silly little sentences put together by my tired brain on a Monday night—but also the ones I knew, the writers who curled up in one of our eclectic chairs, who sat on this couch before me, whose names can be found on the walls around Room 139. 

I think about each of their voices spilling out in between the lines of their writing, how distinct each one sounds in my head, how my own voice is now a menagerie of pieces stolen from every writer whose words I’ve read. 

And I wonder how that voice sounds to anyone who reads even a sentence among the millions I’ve released to the world’s discretion. I wonder if they’ll borrow fragments of my writing style, let them become their own, and pass down my legacy, the way I can only dream I’m passing down the legacy of the writers who came before me.