This is Me.

Hello, lovelies! My name is Topaz Winters, and I am a dreamer.

When I was younger, I would gaze out the window and daydream about knights in shining armour and princesses in tall towers and mean, green monsters I could destroy with one gallant swoop of my sword to the cheers of the townspeople. I'd imagine all the wondrous adventures that lay out there, just waiting for me to come and find them. And I guess in essence, that's what I still do - dream, wonder, imagine. The difference? Now, instead of simply being told off by my teachers for not listening, I put my dreams into motion. So perhaps I've never defeated any mean, green monsters - but now I have my outlet for my dreams and that is my writing.

Ever since I can remember I've loved it. When I was five I wrote about my dolls coming to life and carrying me off to Toyland. When I was ten I wrote about the tiny pixies living in the roses in my family's front garden. And now my stories even more different; and yet, even though they have changed and evolved over time I still find the same simple pleasure in picking up a pencil and just letting the ideas flow. Such a glorious feeling it is, I've found, to sit back, your hands cramped and aching, and stare at the page of beauty in front of you - the beauty that you have created!

And lately I've discovered something that, if possible, gives me even more pleasure than writing stories - songwriting, a skill a hundred times more complicating, frustrating, intoxicating, than the former. Songs must be exquisitely crafted, must fit such a multitude of feelings into just three minutes. The lyrics. The melodies. The rhyming. They all come together to create something so challenging and yet so beautifully simple. I've become addicted to the exhilaration that comes from finishing a really great song.

I've always loved words and wordplay. I carry around a little red notebook where I jot down bits of inspiration, lyrics, rhymes, anything else that might inspire. It's kind of like a journal, but mostly it's a songbook or a notebook or whatever else I need at any given moment; indeed, I know I can always open my little red notebook whenever I'm stuck for ideas, and one will jump out at me. I've never shared it with anyone; it's incredibly personal to me, kind of like songwriting. I've found it takes much more courage to share my songs than my stories - perhaps because while the former are centred around the dreams of others, the latter encompasses my own fears, frustrations, memories, hopes.

Writing is my escape from reality, my way of flying away from real life and jumping into a universe where absolutely anything can happen - and, more importantly, I have the power to make it happen. For all I know, while I'm writing this a mean, green monster might come crashing through the door! But one thing I've learned since five years old? I don't need a sword to defeat it. As long as I'm armed with a pencil and my little red notebook... well, that monster doesn't stand a chance.

love, Topaz