I was about seven or eight years old when I wrote a booklet, including handmade drawings on each page. I don’t remember what it was about, or that my parents thought it was anything extra special, but I know that I felt good about this little book (enough to remember it all these years later).
During my school years, I didn’t care about reading. I didn’t even find a book I couldn’t put down until I was in my twenties. However, in high school there was a time when I enjoyed putting a sentence together, by putting business letters together in English class. My teacher noticed it anyway. Another teacher encouraged me to be the state secretary of Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA) in my junior and senior year.
I thought that was my basic writing background until my mother passed away. My sisters and I went through boxes of things we’d saved over the years, long forgotten in my parents home. Mostly, what I had saved was letters. Letters from friends I’d met at camp in my teen years, from relatives, or from those who’d moved away. I remember writing them, enjoying the writing as much as receiving something back. It was very interesting for me to see that I’d loved putting words on the page then, just as I do now.
After that first book I couldn’t put down, I started reading fiction and have never really stopped. Later, at thirty-six, I somehow thought I could write a book. I guess I thought I’d read enough to know.
Recently, my father passed away at 91 years old. Even though expected at this age, it’s not always an easy process dealing with the emotions of losing a loved one. My sister said we needed to write an obituary and I said I’d write it. I was happy to do it; I have lots of experience putting words on a page after all these years.
I calmed considerably as I put the words on the page. I moved to that place in my mind where I think about who, what, when and the where in writing. I was in my element writing his story, moving sentences around to fit and complete the process. That period of time was my calmest during that week.
Who knows why some start reading and writing early in life with clear definition of what they are doing, while others go through life as I did finally moving from A to Z before even realizing that I should be writing. I used to resent the fact that I didn’t start writing earlier, but I’m okay with it now. I imagine it is the way of things, and only the Big Guy Upstairs knows why.
When did you know that writing was in your blood?