In the end, I think it was inevitable that writing would become my passion. Starting from the beginning, my fascination with words and stories was engendered by the original, the best, and the most compelling storyteller of them all: my mother.

I remember watching her when she would tell a story. Her voice would dip into this low, quiet register. Every emotion that the story called for would pass across her beautiful face, causing the listener, particularly me, to breathlessly wait for the denouement. I’ll never forget the tale of her friend, Peace, whose life was turned upside down when she married a man no one wanted her to marry. I remember the stories of Anansi the spider, of the fables of Aesop, of curious events and people. Each and every time, my mother would weave the story as if it was happening right before my wide eyes. I was quickly intoxicated. She also read us fairy tales and nursery rhymes. To this day, there are some rhymes that I know by heart, by rhythm, by sound, all traceable to those times when my mom would read to my sister and me. A few of my favorites:

This fabulous lady and her girls. Me on the left, my sis on the right. Back in Ghana.
This fabulous lady and her girls. Me on the left, my sis on the right. Back in Ghana.
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane

Old King Cole was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl
And he called for his fiddlers three.
Every fiddler he had a fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he;
Oh there’s none so rare, as can compare
With King Cole and his fiddlers three.

When one of my friends requested that, for her baby shower, we gift her newborn with books, I immediately purchased a copy of nursery rhymes for her. Before wrapping it, my mom and I reminisced about those old days and all the rhymes I could still remember. I could definitely see how happy that made her.

I often credit my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Madeline Chrytzer, for starting the journey of my life as a writer. One afternoon, after running to her desk and professing my love for books and reading, she gazed at me with a smile on her face and said, “you know, you can write books too, one day.” I’ll never forget that moment; the sweet shock that I, too, could write the books that brought me so much joy and excitement. Quite a seminal moment. In hindsight, though, I was already born to be a writer. Mrs. Chrytzer fueled a flame that began with the woman who brought me into this fascinating world and proceeded to tell me all about it.

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