“… She was hurting, that was easy to see. But, what’s hard to comprehend is why, as humans, we aren’t afraid of that pain. If you placed your hand on a hot stove you’d remove it quickly because that hot surface isn’t where you planned on resting your hand. It’s the same with relationships, only we linger, still looking at the stove wondering whether to place our already burnt hand on that scorching surface… We know it’ll just burn our hand again but it doesn’t matter… Letting go isn’t easy, but hanging on doesn’t help us mend either.”
– Excerpt from 16: And Still Living
At the age of 16, I was met with my first big decision. I auditioned for Alvin Ailey’s Summer Intensive and (remarkably) made it in.
It was expensive.
In the end, the opportunity slipped from my hands. My summer of 2005 would be down in little Homestead, FL., and not the Big Apple. In an attempt to make my summer count, a new dream struck me. Write a book.
At 16, that seemed ludicrous, but I wanted to try. Everyday that young summer I found myself glued to a keyboard. Three months later, a story was born. In the beginning, as any young writer would express, I was elated and wanted to immediately find a way to get it published. I didn’t care that the grammar was off or that I had no idea what it meant to form a congruent story-line. All I knew was that I had written a story about what life meant to me, regardless of how little of it I had lived.
By 17, I didn’t care if it was published anymore. I began working on more stories but it just wasn’t flowing out of me like that fateful summer. And once I knew I was going off to college (the great UF), I let my stories collect dust.
16: And Still Living
came to fruition when my mother found my book once I had left for college. Within a few months (and sadly with a poorly edited copy– there were many hiding up in our attic) she had my story self-published.
I now own box-fulls of my book. I have sold a few, here and there, and am very touched when little girls tell me how they used my stories for their reading essays and logs, and how they feel connected to my character, Emily. It’s strange. It’s a conundrum for me because, on one side, it makes me happy that I wrote a story that matters to someone other than myself, and yet, I have moved on from my story, continuing to grow as a writer.
I have shied away from novels and am now concentrating on Children’s Short Stories. However, out of respect for my mother and the happiness I once knew for my story, I am opening it up to the public to purchase once more.
If you wish to buy a copy, message me. If I have enough interest, I will create a way to have it purchased electronically without the middle man.
Cost: $5, plus shipping. It is 218 pages. Simply put, it is about a young girl and what she goes through navigating her first relationship, her growing friendships, and the hardships that come with them all.
Love, B.R. Banos
“When I was seven, my mother forced me to throw away one of my Barbie dolls because its head had fallen off. I argued I couldn’t because “it wasn’t fair to the Barbie doll.” I don’t know of any other seven year old who would have such an unselfish point of view. Most kids would have tossed the lifeless Barbie into the trash can and asked for a new one, but not me. I cared too much. It was always hard for me to let go.”