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In Christian Tucker’s case, it is a poem he wrote which has won the 2016 Otago Daily Times Secondary Scene Award for Excellence in Writing.
There’s a fairy tale-ish and comical quality about the John McGlashan College 18-year-old’s work, titled Little Drummer Boy.
It tells the story of a drummer who lacks confidence, until a girl comes along and inspires him to be great.
Many may be surprised to learn the poem was autobiographical rather than fictional, he said.
Christian does indeed play drums in a band and, as his poem says, he met a piano-playing girl and they became a couple.
Sadly, in reality, it didn’t work out and they were no longer together, he said.
He wrote the poem following the break-up, as a way to process his feelings at the time.
"The poem’s message is helping out other people, and that’s all that counts."
Despite the break-up, it hadn’t put him off love, he said.
"In fact, I met my current girlfriend through the poem.
"She was at an exhibition where I performed the poem. We kind of met through that. She really liked it, I think.
"It’s a gift that keeps on giving," he joked.
He was delighted to be named the top writer in the Otago Daily Times Secondary Scene, which publishes articles and artworks by pupils on alternate Wednesdays.
Now that Christian has completed year 13, he is off to Victoria University in Wellington next year, to study law.
But his aim is not to become a lawyer — that’s just something to fill in his first year, while he tries to gain entry to a prestigious writing course at the university.
"I want to apply for the creative writing group. It’s for second-year students. It’s very exclusive. I think there’s only about 20 people in it.
"I’m going to spend the first year writing a lot and building up a portfolio to see if I can get in."
Ultimately, he plans to become a professional writer, but as yet he is uncertain what sort of writer he will be.
"I’m still finding my way. I’m hoping the course will help me find my place."