By: T-Wolf (he/him/his, she/her/hers)
Editorial Team Member

Being an artistic creator is such an integral part of my life that it’s become near impossible to imagine who I’d be without it. I’ve dreamed of getting to write stories and fantastical worlds for the past ten years, ever since I learned it was something I could make a genuine career out of- but I am a writer far beyond the moments I sit down in front of a blank page or document. And though I wholeheartedly believe that everyone’s passions and careers have a level of creativity within, regardless of if our larger society deems them “creative”, I don’t know what else would be able to fill my life with such vigor and ambition. My mind would feel so terribly lonely without another storyline or “what-if” spinning a new tale inside every day.

I still try to think back to a “before” time, when writing wasn’t at the forefront of all my desires, here and there. But it proves more difficult the further I analyze my childhood. Because in retrospect, the seeds of creation have always been there. I’ve always turned to fictional worlds to fill my mind, even if I wasn’t the one making them- and I certainly wanted to make my own too. It’s part of what keeps me writing to this day, in the hopes of inspiring someone else to share what festers in their mind and refuses to leave.

In the midst of my search, I’ve realized a common root of my writing comes from a very large book series, Warrior Cats by Erin Hunter (a pseudonym for all the real authors that actually work on it). It’s the first real fictional world I was able to sink into. The general premise is about societies of wild cats that come into conflict over their various bids for territory, competing for resources, and conflicts over their laws. After getting through the first arc of books in 2nd grade, I started combing through my school library for more and begged my dad to download the next arcs onto our Kindle. I was obsessed with the characters and writing, easily hooked into how well the authors wove complicated topics into these fictional cats. Even if I didn’t think about it at the time, there was religious conflict, discrimination, resource scarcity, political strife, and cultural genocide- among plenty, plenty other heavy themes.

The first story I remember trying to write was based on Warrior Cats, with the same general premise of wild animals in humanistic societies. I couldn’t have been more than eight years old when I attempted such, and it had a fraction of quality compared to the source of my inspiration. Ambition was my folly, for I dropped it after just a week of trying to draft it. But ambition proved itself to be my strength too, as the further I got into Warrior Cats, the more ideas would bloom in my mind- and I’d set back into trying to write something again. Even now, so much of how I intertwine dialogue and action, of how I describe and differentiate characters, has its roots in that series.

I haven’t truly been invested since I stopped reading the newest entries in the middle of my high school years. However, I still see fanart, fan animations, and fanfictions, all coming across my internet feeds and recommended pages from time to time. It’s amazing how so many people can all find inspiration from the same fictional media, and inspire new ideas in turn. I think I still would have found my way into writing somehow, whether I indulged myself in Warrior Cats or not. But I love recognizing the pieces of its influence in my writing- as well as the pieces of influence from practically everything else I’ve read. My stories have always been patchworks of other media I’ve come across over the years, just like all stories. Yet I still get to call my stories mine, because I was the one to see this particular patchwork. To recognize each piece from my life, to recognize each piece from me, feels like the truest homage to my roots.