By Madison Hart

It all started on an airplane. Wait, no, no, no! It all started with, “The occasional cool mist of the sea quietly reminds me of the unyielding truth of my journey.” Yes, that’s it. The airplane comes later!

At nine years old, I was already an avid reader, happily spending many hours upon my bed with my nose in a book.  I had no idea, however, what an impact written words would have on my life. I was three chapters into Kingdom’s Dawn, the first book in Chuck Black’s Kingdom Series. One of my dearest friends had recommended the book after reading all six books. They sounded great—knights, battles, love, adventure. That is, until I started reading the first book. I could not, for the life of me, get into that book! It was very rare that a book did not interest me, but maybe, just maybe, I’d found a book I did not like. Then, one Sunday, my friend’s mom encouraged me not to give up and keep reading.

kingdom series

The Kingdom Series

I reluctantly agreed to continue, and I will be forever grateful for her persistence. Only a few chapters later, Chuck Black had whisked me into a land, with not only knights and adventure, but also lessons of honor, respect, patience and loyalty. Black showed me the infectious effect characters and their actions could have on others. Leinad, the main character, and Tess, his friend, made me laugh, cry and cling to my covers until my knuckles were white. It was then I started to think (a dangerous thing if you’re like me), if a former F-16 fighter pilot could write a book which impacted my nine-year-old life, why couldn’t I do the same? It was in my youthful confidence that I resolved to write my first book. I would not describe it as a revelation at that point, but a sudden realization that anyone can impact the world in a positive way. So, I began writing. My first words were, “She parried to the left, took a vertical cut to the shoulder and lunged towards her opponent’s unprotected abdomen.” My journey had begun!

Ah ha! Now we have reached the airplane. Yes, this is my favorite part of my journey so far, if you could not tell. During that same year, 2009, my mom and I flew down to Arizona to visit my family. The flight was almost over, I could feel the plane tipping to the left, allowing me to see the Phoenix lights not far below. There was no need to gather my courage, I was confident, excited, no doubt dwelled in my mind. Turning to my mom I said, “Mama, I’m supposed to write books. I know there’s a need for some good books on shelves in this world and I’m supposed to write them.”

Of course my journey did not end here. Over the past seven years, I restarted my first book three times and have yet to finish it. There are days I’m sure it’ll never make it very far, but deep inside (very deep :) ) I know I will finish it. It’s just not the time yet. But until then I’ll keep writing, I’ll keep creating stories, I’ll keep trying. I can’t imagine where I would be if my friend’s mom had never encouraged me to keep reading. I wonder if I’d be writing today if I had given up. Indeed, the “cool mist of the sea quietly reminds me of the unyielding truth of my journey.” I am a writer!

This post is part of our annual Lit Counts series, in which writers and readers express why supporting and elevating literary arts—the mission of Lighthouse Writers Workshop—is important to them. If you agree, consider supporting Lighthouse on Colorado Gives Day. Mark your calendar for December 6 or schedule your gift now. Thank you!


Madison Hart is a junior in high school and a member of Lighthouse’s Young Authors Collective. Her favorite pastimes are writing, reading, playing music, enjoying time with family and friends, and spending time outdoors.