A guy who works in the Frontier Communications side of our building asked if I’d give his 10-year-old granddaughter, Aeries, a tour of The Daily Herald newsroom.
“She wants to be a writer,” Lane Erickson, her “Papa,” told me.
A kid who wants to be a writer?
What’s up with that?
Not only that, he told me Aeries is compiling a literary newsletter to give to commuters at a local park-and-ride.
I had to meet this girl.
I went to her Papa’s house in Everett. It’s her office when she visits from Bothell on weekends. She sits at his desk, crafting prose and poems on the computer and in journals.
“I’ve been writing since I was 4,” Aeries told me. “I loved to read books. I wondered how books were made. So I started making my own to experience it.”
Her first story was about being stuck inside a snow globe.
“At that moment I felt really involved with it. I knew this is what I wanted to do,” she said. “I used to come up with tiny stories. Of course, I had a lot of spelling errors.”
Oh, baby, don’t we all.
“Most kids at my age don’t know what they want to do,” said Aeries, a fifth grader at Maywood Hills Elementary. “I write every day. In class. Out of class. Anywhere. When I don’t write, I feel trapped. It’s just kind of boring.”
Don’t people tell her there’s no money or glory in writing?
“I don’t do it for the likes,” she said.
“Writing makes me feel like I am in control of the story, and I can do what I want with it. I can imagine what I want and put it down on paper. My life has so many things going on in it that it kind of directs onto the paper and it makes it better.”
She sums it up this way: “It’s kind of like a getaway.”
I often feel chained to the computer. Maybe I need to take some lessons from her.
She shares some stories with her Papa and Grandma Sylvia, but most are for her eyes only at this point.
“She has a lot of private journals,” her grandfather said.
Maybe someday the world will get to read them. Aeries wants to be a novelist.
“I want to have my first actual out-there book published by the time I’m 30,” she said. “If it’s not that good, I’ll take a break, but I’m not going to just give up. I’ll try to write a couple of other books.”
Look at her photo. Inquisitive eyes. Radiant smile. Flowing hair. She’s got a face for a book jacket.
“I want to write meaningful books,” she said. “I don’t want to write unless I can make it feel like I’m actually there, inside of the story. It can be hard. When I’m not concentrating on my writing, I’m just typing.”
Her “Walden Pond” is The Park at Bothell Landing. “It’s peaceful there. When I look into the icy blue water, I get a flash of inspiration,” she said.
The Eastmont Park and Ride by her Papa’s house inspired the literary newsletter.
“I saw the open box slot and it said ‘Take one for free.’ I said, ‘Hey, maybe I can write something and place it there so people can read it,’ ” she said.
“The boxes are often empty. I found some disgusting things in there before. A wet towel, a bag from McDonald’s.”
She wants to go big, with a lot of stories in her debut publication.
“I am going to ask Papa to print it out,” she said. “I think it will be almost 100 pages and I am going to make 50 copies.
Has she considered making it smaller?
Does Papa know he is going to have to print out 5,000 pages?
But he has time to stock up on paper and ink. She still has about 90 pages to go.
“I have to finish it, then I have to edit it, check it — do all that stuff,” Aeries said. “Multiple stories, that’s hard.”
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @reporterbrown.
A poem by Aeries
Here’s a poem Aeries Erickson composed about her younger sister.
Dear Baby Sister
You waddle, you play, you laugh every day,
You goo-goo and ga-ga and wee-wee waa-waa,
And you chew on my blocks, and you knock and you knock,
You shake your head, cry, burp, and smile,
You even bounce up and down for a while.
You drink your milk, spill a little, stand up tall like a statue,
How tall do you feel when everyone is staring at you?
You play with the cat’s mouse, you play with my ball,
Baby sister, baby sister, how tall, how tall?
You roll around on your tummy, crawling galore,
You eat my french fries and apples and veggies — yes, more!
You pull the cat’s hair, then pull mine after.
First Mommy, and Daddy, then stuffed velociraptor.
You get into the cookies, spill corn flakes everywhere,
You knock over the baby gate and chew underwear.
You spit on my sweatshirt, and my shirt and my pants,
And even Garry our tiny pet ant.
Our TV remote. Where is it now? Where?
Under the couch? The stove? Over there?
Baby sister, baby sister, we can’t find the remote!
Wait a second, turn around! There it is in your diaper.
At least not your throat…