When I was about four or five, the day that a new edition of “The Best in Children’s Books” was delivered, would feel like a very special occasion to my younger brother and me. Those books, and every Little Golden Book that we had, were among the best gifts that my mother ever gave me. Through them I had the privilege to discover how thrilling, how beautiful, and how precious words could be.
I remember during a period of time, when she would read to my brother and me at bedtime, how I would wonder about that bit she was always reading at the beginning, the bit that didn’t really sound like part of the story. I knew it was important because it sounded important, but for a while I didn’t understand it. One evening I interrupted and asked the question, and she gave me the magical answer: “_____ is the person who wrote the story, and _____ is the one who drew the pictures.” I was very young, yet I could feel (I can feel it now in the pit of my stomach) that I was on the verge of something that I very much needed to wrap my mind around.
“Somebody wrote the story in the book?” I asked, pointing to the page.
“Yes,” she said.
I leaned my face over the page, and said, “It doesn’t look like somebody wrote it!”
She laughed at me. “No, the author made up the story in his head, then he wrote it down, and then it was made into a book.”
The rest of the scene is hazy. I don’t think I heard the beginning of that night’s story. The next time I remember feeling that way, was at my wedding. I was so happy and giddy that I could barely see; my life changed in a moment. I could write stories. I would write stories. In the beginning, I did what Stephen King did. I rewrote stories I liked, just changing little things like the names, but in just a few years I was writing “The Adventures of Jeremy and Ramona” about a poor boy with a funny baby sister and a wonderfully accepting Mom, and his new friend, a rich girl who was tired of tutors and wanting to go to a real school, so she went by herself and made a lifelong friend to discover the world with. My mother liked the opening chapters of that book. I never finished it but I’ve never stopped writing.
I’ve been including stories on my blog for a while now. If you enjoy them, I hope you’ll let me know. If you don’t, it helps me to know that, too. I want to continue learning and collecting tools that help me communicate better and find poetry in the words, so people might want to read the ones I write. I aim to make people’s time with my writing well spent, and I hope my learning process keeps on forever to serve that goal, or at least until I’m gone.