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 I grew up in East Los Angeles with my grandparents and younger brother. My parents, living in Chino where I reside now, were always busy with work, and had no time to take care of us. My father was a trucker, and Mom was, and still is, a supervisor for the Southern California Gas Company. We would visit them on the weekends, but during the week it was just me and my twin-brother with the grandparents.
     We didn't have much to do there, and the internet wasn't out. My brother was very much into scary stories, and I was into the discovery and study of Paranormal activity (great kids, right?). The house had its own weird happenings, so on occasion we would stay up, in pitch darkness, and just watch for anything. Of course, we would get too scared to stay up past twelve, and School was something we did, so we would never go past ten at the latest. But it was exciting.
     I grew up with a bunch of kids who, like me, had a huge imagination. They weren't into the Paranormal like I was, but we enjoyed the same television shows. Eventually we got tired of playing these stories on the School's yard, and we moved onto our next big adventure: comics and stories. I wrote the dialogue, stories, descriptions, and dabbled a bit in drawing, but I was never as good as the others in art. These were the kids who spent hours drawing, and could turn out a new masterpiece within minutes (masterpieces, however, were restricted to the use of crayons and markers). We moved throughout our years continuing to create stories together. Eventually we passed on out of Middle School and had to move on.
     After the loss of my Grandfather, and missing the nights we would tell each other stories, my brother and I was asked to move to my parent's home in Chino by the state. We followed, and ended up going to the High School just around the block, but we were horrified. The years of scary stories and Ghost-hunting led to us dressing up as punks, and we were forced to attend a School where we had no friends to compare with. Of course we were the outsiders, but it didn't stay like that for long.
     My brother was known for his crazy ways and long, feminine hair. I gained friends thanks to my imagination and creativity. I joined the Japanese Animation and Art club, and hours after school, for four years, were devoted to Marching Band. I wanted to do theatre, having done acting as a child growing up, but our parents grid-locked us into making music. The years went by so quickly, and I had lost my spark in creating stories.
     After a few years I went into a medical scare--Cancer. I had gained an odd lump in my throat, and the mole on my chest was seen as an oddity to the doctors. They removed both things for testing, but I was traumatized; days were spent in bed, crying, and I was eventually forced onto anxiety medication. I fell out of an abusive relationship at the time as well, the person not helping me in the slightest, so things were grim.
     I started to attend therapy on campus for free. My mother was against it, saying my anxiety and trauma was nothing at all, but I was tired of the nightmares, crying fits, and general sulking that went on. The therapy didn't help much asides giving me someone to talk to, which was good, but I needed answers, solutions, and for my problems to just "f*** off." Then I found a book.
     The Tools, by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels, is what I'd like to think saved me. There I found techniques, tools, as they called it, to help combat my fears. I was amazed that books could do this for me, and while I grew up reading stories, novellas and novels, this was something incomparable. Immediately I talked with my friends, and told them what was inside. I was a missionary trying to tell of the Lord's graces. Then I began to write.
     And I wrote more.
     And I wrote more.
     Things were pouring out, and my grades in English were soaring high. Immediately I wanted to do this; immediately I wanted to write something that could change someone's life, or show them that they're not alone--no one has to go through this alone. I started writing dramas, romances, and even realistic, horrifying thrillers. I was hooked.
     I moved on to the next level of college, where thanks to my professor at the time I met my now mentor, John Brantingham. I awkwardly called him one day and told him I just wanted to writer--to know how to do the things these people did. We met up in his office and I showed him a trio of stories I threw together. He talked with me on what I was doing well, and not-so-well, but encouraged me to continue whether it be through our School's writing club, or the class. Again, I was hooked.
     I now tutor English and Writing at my School's Writing-center. My writing schedule takes over my entire day, as I make sure to write no less than 500 words (my goal, however, is to keep at 1000 words a day). I write and read every day, and make sure not to drop off the ball. If I can't write anything up to that amount, I keep it to a 500 word essay, or journal.
     Literature is a great thing, and in some way has influenced me throughout life. While it also might have saved my life, it's pushed me forward into a new, positive direction, where I can actually see a future for myself (majoring in acting or Italian were some of the silly things I thought of during my first years in College). Moving forward, I want to become an Editor as of this point, but continue to write encouraging, thrilling, or just plain horrifying stories that show the wonders, troubles, and accomplishments of real, every day life.

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