The Nutshell Introduction

June 13, 2018

“He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.”

So wrote Rafael Sabatini about his character André-Louis Moreau, an eighteenth-century, French lawyer who inadvertently sparked the French Revolution.

How cool would it be if someone introduced you like that?

The next time I meet a stranger, I want my friend to say, “She was born with a pen in her hand and a sense that the world was bonkers.”

Not just “This is Victoria Johnson. She likes to write and draw.”

If you had to sum yourself up in a few words, what would you say? Would you list your hobbies or profession? Would you include your favorite colors or music? What about your favorite novels, movies or people? Would you include your family, your pet(s)? Aspirations? Desires? Religion?

Or perhaps you would draw a picture?

I tried to decorate the door of my college dorm during my sophomore year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I just couldn’t decide what to draw. There were too many options! I put the project on hiatus, but perhaps I’ll resume it now – but only with words.

Let me draw in a deep breath… OK, here it goes:

I’m the kind of person you’d see staring into space, entering an entirely different world. Sometimes it’s a world of magic and fantasy; at other times, I’m just trying my hardest to travel to Europe without paying airfare.

If you decided to follow me throughout the day, you might find me writing short stories, reading foreign classics or watching black-and-white movies. For the latter, I’m often chased out of the TV room. Unfortunately, no family member shares my taste in movies. If not black-and-white movies, I might be attempting to watch a movie in Spanish without subtitles. I’m going to Spain for a year this fall to study journalism and history and – perhaps most importantly – to become fluent in Spanish. It’s a beautiful language, one well worth anyone’s time to learn.

Hint, hint.

On another day, you might find me reading articles about history or the news. I’ll say it proudly: I’m a history nerd. I’m studying European history at UNC-Chapel Hill, but if I could, I’d study every country’s history. I’m going to be a novelist one day, and there’s no better source material than history. Don’t believe me? Read about the fall of the Roman Republic. It has everything: war, drama, action, love — everything!

Before I write the world’s greatest novel, I plan to work as a foreign correspondent stationed in Spain for papers like the Washington Post. Journalism and fiction writing are two sides of the same coin. In one, you tell a story; in the other, you create it.

Well, that’s me in a nutshell.

Now it’s your turn.

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