Lisa Burstein

This Be Where I Blog

The Girl Who Loved Words and Still Does

on June 26, 2012

I was always a girl who loved words. When I was in high school I wrote in a diary and spewed out terrible poetry. Very melodramatic stuff that rhymed. Mostly because I had all these feelings of inadequacy and defectiveness inside me that I didn’t know how else to get out. So I wrote poems with titles like Pain, and my parents read them and asked me if I was okay. And, I always said yes, because how could I explain?

How could I tell them that their little girl who used to love reading and horseback riding was finding it hard to find things she loved anymore? How could I tell them that being thrust into the world of high school had turned me into a shy, scared, loser? I couldn’t.
But that girl who loved words and knew she had things to say about the world, her world, even though she was afraid no one was listening, is the one who was inside me when I was writing PRETTY AMY.
High school was not easy for me. When I was a freshman there were a lot of days I came home crying. Not because I was bullied, but because I was ignored. Made to feel like it didn’t matter if I existed or not. That is its own kind of mental bullying. When you keep being ignored, it starts to turn you into someone who just feels need all the time. Who just feels lost all the time. You just want validation that you are normal.
It’s a scary place to be.
Because of that, you try so desperately to be friends with someone, anyone. You feel yourself just wanting a friend to pick you. To say, yes, I like you, let’s sit together at lunch, like a puppy looking through glass just wanting to be taken home and hugged.
You walk through the halls at school and try to find anyone willing to give you a chance, but chances are hard to come by in high school.
That was all I wanted back then, someone to give me a chance. And, in PRETTY AMY it’s all that Amy wants.
It was a book I knew I had to write, certainly for all the girls out there who feel and felt like me, but also for myself. I knew I had to make those years of hopelessness and emptiness into something. I knew I had to take all those feelings and put them somewhere and I guess I was lucky enough to be able to put them in a novel.
The thing is I know there are so many girls like Amy, so many girls who just want someone, anyone to listen to them. Who try so hard to make sense of their lives that it hurts.
I know what it is like to be this kind of girl and I also know that all you want is a place to spill all your feelings like a bucket full of dirty mop water, which is why I created The Pretty Amy Project. I am asking teens and adults who used to be teens to Read PRETTY AMY and tell their story.As Amy says:

I’d wanted the words to be perfect. It seemed like they should be profound or something for as long as everyone had been waiting to hear them, but all I could say was yes. I guess sometimes saying what you mean is enough.
I know there are a lot of Amy’s out there. I was an Amy and I had no one who really understood. I understand. I want to listen. I want other people to listen. I am asking readers to tell us how you’ve felt like Amy. How you got over it. How you are getting over it. How you are embracing it. Tell us anything you’ve been too afraid to tell before.
I know sometimes that just saying and reading the scary and hard things can make you feel better. I know that because that’s what finally did it for me.

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Read the first chapter here

One response to “The Girl Who Loved Words and Still Does

  1. Rachel says:

    Love this post. Love AMY. Can’t wait for Cassie. And please tell me you are writing one from Joe’s perspective – I love that kid so much!!!!

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