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I grew up with a beautiful and mysterious swamp in my backyard, where I spent hours exploring and pretending to be in a magical world. It's where I fell in love with storytelling and nature. I still believe there is magic there.
Beyond the swamp, in the woods, there was a tree that my sisters and I named Mr. Goodtree. He was great for climbing and keeping secrets!
My dad used to read aloud poems to me and my sisters. My favorites were "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe, and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. They were beautiful and haunting, and probably gave me nightmares, but they were like symphonies to my young ears, and I've loved poetry ever since.
My mom made sure I always had a plentiful supply of books. Many weekends, she would drop me off at the local library. It wasn't unusual for me to spend an entire day exploring the shelves and reading in a cozy spot. Some early favorites were the Encyclopedia Brown books, and later the Nancy Drew mysteries.