It started with a yellow legal pad and a tiny writing desk in the basement. By the light of my father’s grey gooseneck lamp, I carefully wrote the tale. It was a play about two women, sisters, beautiful, and united in a common mission: marry a prince.
I was ten years old. It was the last time I’d try playwrighting. Or a period piece.
From there, an endless stream of journals.Which I still have. Which I hope someone will find and publish when I die because, well, that’d be kind of cool.
In fifth grade, there were twelve pages of onionskin typing paper written on my dad’s old manual typewriter. The story began with a dreadful plane crash and children stranded on an island. The most important things are recorded in the twelve pages – exactly what everybody is wearing and their rank in the social hierarchy. (Any resemblance to famous novels by William Golding are mere coincidence – I would not read Lord of the Flies until eighth grade.)
A steady stream of encouraging and inspiring teachers, most amazing writers in their own right: Mrs. Miller in the eighth grade, Dr. Moorehead in high school, Professor Lucas in college, Paul Griner in grad school.
And writing groups. There have been many and I look at them like former boyfriends. There are ones I miss because they were fun. There were a few that included true powerhouses of talent, such that my own writing was humbled. I got kicked out of one after telling the dictator of the group he could not do as he pleased with my work. (Then after four years of no contact, he tried to friend me on Facebook. Srsly? WTF?) I love writing groups, not just for the structure and the insistence to produce, but the community of like-minded writerly folk. It’s like a creative writing class without the school part.
I wrote volumes of poetry for many years. Stuff so purple your eyes turn lavender after reading it. Then short fiction for a long time. My master’s thesis is a collection of short stories. Currently, I’m working on a novel and honing my essay-writing skills. I am interested in creative nonfiction and humor.
All my life there has been no choice. I don’t write because I’m good at it. I didn’t keep going because other people told me to. It’s just the way I am. It’s the only thing that makes sense sometimes.