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Leah Rae Miller | Nerding out is for everyone

May 23, 2013

Leah Rae MillerTHE SUMMER I BECAME A NERDI remember this one time, when the first Harry Potter film came out. It was a midnight showing and I’d spent weeks practically building a witch’s hat. It was wonky, crooked, and black like the ones I’d seen in images released early of the film. And after all that work and passion I poured into that hat, I still feared that people would point and laugh at me at the theater. But that didn’t happen. Kids wanted me to cast spells on them with my homemade wand that my husband whittled out of a piece of wood and they asked me if I was a witch, to which I replied, “Why, yes, I am.” When they asked me that and I answered with what I did, I felt my nerdish self cement itself.

I started analyzing my nerdy-self. I grew up on comic books. I learned to read with comic books. My brother was a huge comic fan. He’d read the boy parts and I’d read the girl parts. Comics became a part of me, of who I am today. So, when I sat down to write a new book, I tapped into that aspect of myself. I took a life experience and put it into my writing. And, yeah, a little bit of myself got worked into the characters of The Summer I Became a Nerd, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

When I wrote this book, I knew what it felt like to totally geek out about something like the main character does is the book. That is a common feeling for nerds. Those of us who get so passionate about some movie, comic, book ,or what have you, will also relate to that ecstatic, overwhelming need to be near to and immerse ourselves in this thing that we’ve focused on. That thing that means something to us. Then, I realized that a lot of people are like that. They might not freak out about comics or books, but they might freak out about a sports team, a new shade of eye shadow, or a new collection released by their favorite designer. This is nerd mentality. I began looking for the nerd in everyone.

While I delved into what makes a nerd a nerd, I think I learned something about people, in general. It brought me back to that one time I put myself on the line and decided to dress up for a Harry Potter midnight showing. And how awesome that turned out. I learned that we’re all passionate about something. Everyone has a little bit of nerd in them whether they want to admit it or not.

When it comes to what I hope people take away from my novel, I just want people to enjoy it. And if they come away thinking that it’s okay to like what they like with passion, then I’ll be even more happy.

What things do you nerd out about? One commenter will win THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD

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