People have asked me where I learned to write the way I do. Where did I learn to sew words together in such a way that people get lost in a world that only exists on the pages of a book? Where did I find these characters that I write about and these conflicts that I describe? The only place I can wholly attribute my knowledge to is spending so much time in my own head.

Someone once said, "You write so beautifully. The inside of your mind must be a horrible place." Indeed, this is quite how I learned to craft stories. When you spend so much time in your mind, you begin to experience and see the unspeakable. For a long time, I was so overcome with this darkness trapped inside that I could hardly see. I was lost and depressed. Then, I turned to bleeding on pages with ink to relive this tension with, and I found relief.

Yet, because of that, I struggled every day with allowing others to read my writing. It is not because I'm embarrassed or because it means nothing, but quite the contrary; I struggle to share my writing because it feels quite like sharing my personal journal. It means everything about me, who I've been, and what I've seen. My soul has been poured into each word, and I have struggled with letting people see inside of me to that extent, even if it is disguised with a fictional story. As Neil Gaiman once said, "Fiction is a lie that tells us true things."

Despite my struggles, they are the purpose behind why I do what I do; I write so that people know they are not alone. I write so that people know that the things they battle inside themselves are not impossible to defeat. I write so that people know that they, and every person in existence, has a story to be told. And that story has a purpose beyond the past.

A.R. Hansen

Author of Battle of the Mind