While I sat around waiting for my car’s safety inspection to be completed I thought through the many possibilities of where to start my blog. After much hemming and hawing I came to the conclusion that I should start at the most logical place…the beginning. How did I become a writer? Have I always been a writer? What inspired me to this end?
The simple answer to the first question is I don’t think I became anything more than what I was meant to be, which gives away the answer to number two. Yes, I have always been a writer, it just took that little bit of something to wake up inside me, stretch, yawn and greet the day. That happened for me during my fifth grade year. But the story doesn’t start with my love of writing. It actually starts with my love of reading.
From a very early age I discovered the joy of reading. My first solo sojourn into the world of the written word occurred when I was in third grade. My third grade teacher tasked us with our first ever book report. Yes, we actually had to read a chapter book all by ourselves. A collective groan rippled through the class. To be honest, I don’t remember if I was part of the groaning or part of the cheering. Perhaps, this is because what came from that experience was so life altering that nothing else seems to matter.
I chose to read Winnie the Pooh. As I progressed through the stories, I grew more and more enraptured with each adventure until finally the end came. Christopher Robin held a party for Pooh and I had to say goodbye to my new friends. I closed the book and sat there on my bed for several minutes. Never had I experienced such a moment in my young life. For the first time the thought ‘I love this. I want to do this’entered my mind. Though I didn’t have an understanding of what it took to do that, I knew I wanted to make magic with words. I wanted to be able to make someone feel what I felt that day. Every day I read something I fall in love with I get to experience it all over again. So, whenever I find myself questioning my desire to be a writer, I need only pick up a book I love to read. Throughout the read I absorb the magic. Then when I quietly close the back cover the mantra whispers through me yet again reminding me of that childhood dream.
In my quest to live that dream I attended a small liberal arts college for a year. I took literature, poetry, journalism, philosophy, psychology, and sociology. Anything to help me better understand the human condition.
As a young person I believed in order to achieve my goals I needed to have a better understanding of the world we lived in as well. So, without hesitation, I turned in my school books, caught the wind in my sails and set off for adventure. I could think of nothing better than to join the Navy, after all their slogans at the time were “Join the Navy. See the world” and “The Navy. Not just a job, it’s an adventure.” My young, mind reveled at the possibilities. Within a year I was at my first duty station in Misawa, Japan. While taking in the sights the Japanese landscape offered I met my beloved. During our twenty-two year marriage, we have embraced the spirit of adventure going wherever the wind takes us. Among the more exotic locations we’ve landed are Honolulu, HI, Las Vegas, NV, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. During this period in my life I set aside my writing to raise a family but the dream never wavered. I always dabbled.
Today, I find myself in Upstate New York nestled between the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains. And it is here where my writing has taken on new life. I guess, in a way, the Gods in their infinite wisdom must have seen fit to smile on me in that moment so long ago as my ability with the written word has grown, my voice has strengthened and I have come into my own as an adult and a writer. Now, I can see the work that A. A. Milne must have put in to tell his tales so effortlessly. I have a true understanding of what it takes to be a full time writer.
In the end, this is what I’ve learned. Though magic is woven by powerful words, there is no magic wand to physically write them. Words can spring forth like a gushing, raging river. Without the ability to stem the flow, filter them and commit them to paper there will only ever be overflown banks and fertile soil washed down stream.
This is my job as a writer. Contain the flow within the pages of a book. Have a beginning, middle and end that is equally fierce, powerful and magical. If I can do that then I will create magic with words and I will bring the reader along with me from the heights of elation to the depths of despair and everywhere in between. Writing is magic made real and I am the sorcerer!