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Four Years at the Mount

Sophomore year

Believe in me first

Kyle Ott
MSM Class of 2015

(5/2013) I think for a long time people knew I was going to be a writer. I had seen the short home movie my mom had recorded of when I was five; I was sitting on a giant stuffed animal pumpkin making up some story about an evil monster, waving my tiny arms around with inflection. My little brother would occasionally stumble into the frame and ask in a tiny voice that slurred words together if I wanted to play with him and the balloon he had found. Whatís funny is that you can hear my parents laughing outside of the frame while I told my story. My mom gently interrupted it to inform my sibling that I would play when I had finished. Even when I was five years old, my mom was there to make sure that she did not miss a single word of her little storyteller at work.

With Motherís Day fast approaching, itís no coincidence that I reflect back on the role my mother has played in my development as a man and particularly as a young writer. When I was young, my mom ran a little side project called "Mommy Airlines." For two imaginative young boys who had never flown before, the idea of an airplane ride fascinated us. With very few electronics to speak of, my mom devised the "plane ride" as a way to keep us entertained. She would make us a little snack and then pop in an old movie in the VCR player. One day she decided to throw in the animated version of JRR Tolkeinís "The Hobbit," and my fate was sealed. Once a week I would ardently ask my mother if we could watch "The Hobbit," and she of course would smile and play the movie. No one knew (except for my mother) that at that point, I became an author. Tolkeinís world had captivated me in a way that no other had done. There were monsters and warriors, dragons and magic. I was hooked and my mom had created her own kind of monster.

Throughout my life, my love for the written world continued and my mom helped encourage me along a path that would have seemed strange for most parents. At night, I would sneak out of my bed and go into the toy room that was situated further down the hall when I was supposed to be fast asleep. It wasnít the chests of awesome action figures, the boxes of colorful puzzles, or the bags of Legos that interested me in the room. No, what I wanted to find my way to was the large writing desk with a small lamp. This desk was perfect for the creation of new stories. In the spacious shelves and drawers of that desk I found paper, pens, pencils and crayons, the tools that I needed to make worlds unknown.

I vividly recall the night my mom found me huddled up on the desk chair with the lamp on, paper scattered in front of me, my head turned down, and my eyes focused on some new character or exotic land. She scolded me for sneaking out of bed so late at night and said that regardless of what I said or did I had to go to sleep, no matter how good my latest creation was. I shuffled back to bed, more disappointed at being sent away while in the midst of writing something I love than getting in trouble. As I turned to give her one more hug before I went back to sleep, I could have sworn I saw my mom smiling at a boy who was surrounded by all the accouterments of childhood and playing with a pen and paper.

Now that I have matured, I can look back and see the massive role my mother has played in making me the writer I am today. She encourages me to follow a career that seems less concrete than something that might be a little more tangible. She edits my stories and my papers, corrects me on my use of grammar, and makes every piece of literature I churn out so much better in the process. My mom is my creative sounding board and one of the few people who I have trusted (or would ever trust) with a stake in the world that I create every time I put a pen to the page. The running joke in my house is that when I get published for the first time, regardless of my marital status, the children Iíve had, or the debts to powerful backers of my book, she gets the first dedication page.

While I know she is (half) kidding, there is no one else in this world I would rather dedicate that first page to than my mom, the woman who gave me the love of literature, the book in my hand, the page on the desk and the story in my heart. At the end of the day, our lives and our fortunes are ultimately owed to the person who saw what we wanted to accomplish and said two simple words, "We can." That person for me is my mother. Thanks, Mom. Iím Kyle Ott. Wonít you sit and read with me for a while?

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