January 24th, 2010


Birth of a Writer

For some reason, I like skipping down memory lane and pulling you along. Where to this time?  Oh, we get to visit the moment I fell in love with books. No, maybe not the moment. Honestly, I don’t remember when that happened. In fact, I believe my love for books is in my DNA, a mutant gene scientist have yet to discover. This is really the moment I began daydreaming about being a writer. I know something valuable resides in the story. Shall we?


I’m eight-years old. I’m sitting at my desk, swirling my sparkly pencil, and my feet are slicing through the air. I keep eyeing the clock. When can I go to the library?  Argh! What did the teacher just say?


“Class, it’s our time to visit the book sale.”




I hop to my feet, scurry to line up. As I wait for the slowpokes, I'm biting my cuticles (a nasty habit to this day) and shifting foot to foot. My heart races, my palms sweat. We're walking single file. It takes every ounce of patience I possess to slow my feet. 


Finally we arrive, I arrive.  Sweet freedom.


I walk the aisles. My fingers curl around dollar bills. I'm ready to release them for the right trade, the right book. The covers reach out to me. The titles beg me to come closer. Yet, nothing grabs me. I move to slip my money in my pocket. Then I see it. The book. I know it’s there for me.


*The Dollhouse Murders, by Betty Ren Wright. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/750035.The_Dollhouse_Murders


It has ghosts. I love a ghost story. The main character is close to my age. It has parents who sometimes don’t see their child needs them, because she is precocious. It has family secrets. It deals with forgiveness.  It has baking. J  The story is simple, but intriguing. The writing is no frills, but captivating.


I read the 149 pages in bed, undercover, with a flashlight. I know I will write a story one day. It won’t be like Dollhouse, but it will make someone feel the way I do.  I will make someone’s heart race. My words will compel someone to sneak a flashlight into their bed at night and sacrifice sleep.  


I share this story for one reason. I think it’s important for writers to recall why you started down this path. It’s a long, meandering road. Many detours and potholes sully the path. We can find ourselves discouraged and sitting on the side of the road, face in hands, tears on cheek.  In those moments we can feel so alone, lost. After all, who will understand? Writing is a solitary journey.  Is it? When you’re sitting on the side of the road, watching others zoom by, are you really alone? Yes and No. I know I have my eight-year-old self. She is skipping around me, songs on her lips, daydreams filling her head. Anything is possible to her. And I promised her, myself, I would write something that made people feel. Maybe only three people will feel it. Maybe one million. At the time I made the promise, three people felt like many. She won’t know the difference. But she will know that I gave up.


So when did you decide you would be a writer? What is your favorite childhood book?



*If you’re wondering, my original copy of Dollhouse was ruined in a flood. Last year I bought it again. I read it and still think it’s pretty great.