A Brief History of a Writer
“I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don’t know what I did before that. Just loafed I suppose.” – P.G. Wodehouse
My first book was a children’s book, inspired by the birth of my brother when I was in Kindergarten. I couldn’t spell yet, so I dictated the story to my mom and drew the illustrations myself. I couldn’t wait to take it to school and show it to my teacher, Mrs. McFarland—a family friend who was substituting for my regular teacher. She was so pleased with it, she read it to the class for storytime. A writer was born.
The schoolwork I remember best are the writing activities. From elementary school, I remember writing an essay about lions, the thrill of brainstorming, learning to write haikus, and writing stories based on the pictures in Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. In junior high I enjoyed writing book reports and starting my first novels. High school brought more poetry and five-paragraph essays about literature, plus an activity in a creative writing class where the teacher played instrumental music and we wrote the images it inspired. I majored in English in college and learned that research papers can be interesting and critical theory brings out new depths in a story. Throughout my childhood and teenage-years, I enjoyed making up skits and plays with my sisters and friends.
While I have always been good at math and science, reading and writing are the things that make me feel alive. As a teenager I spent hours in my room with a deck of cards, playing solitaire and creating the plots of stories I wanted to write. If I can’t find a book with the exact story I want to read, I start to create and write that story. I love being able to ask a question and find the answer, then test that answer. I think that in some ways I actually apply the scientific method to my writing.
Writing lifts me when I feel depressed. When I write, I feel like I’m the purest, truest version of myself. And when I don’t write, I feel like I’m wasting the talent that God gave me, not developing or growing it, not becoming what I can be. Too many days without writing makes me feel like my life is losing some of its purpose.
If in some way the stories I create can help me to connect with other people in the world, that connection is what I want. I hope that through this blog I can find a connection with other people. Perhaps we can all feel that we are less alone.
Originally Published October 2017