From the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia I write to synthesize what I'm learning at the time, whether it be poetry, a political commentary, or a letter to my mother in Hull, Massachusetts, where I'm originally from. Whenever I don't know exactly what it is I'm doing and it borders on wasting my time, I call it research. 'Dear Abby, How can I get rid of freckles?' was my first published piece at the age of 11.