Thursday, February 27, 2003

It occurred to me this morning that I’ve been a writer all my life. I started a journal as a young adult, and I started college intending to get a double major in biology and journalism. I took journalism classes, and in junior college I served as editor of the school paper for one semester. But it goes back much farther than that.

When I was 5 I think I wrote my first story. It was maybe four lines long, an illustrated work. It concerned a little girl getting a birthday present and discovering it was the same toy as someone else had already given her. “Oh well!” she said laughing. I think the gist was, if one is good, two is better. I showed it to my parents, who reproached me for this evidence of greed.

Later on, in grade school, I found science fiction. I read a lot of Andre Norton, Robert A. Heinlein, and a bunch of others I don’t remember. I’d spin elaborate tales in my head and start to write them down, but my small hands tired quickly of the effort, and I lacked the patience to finish them. I remember standing frustrated in the middle of my room one summer day and wishing, mentally creating, as it were, a marvelous machine into which I could speak, and it would do the hard job of writing my words down. I imagined that this machine wouldn’t be invented until far, far in the distant future that my favorite books told about, and grieved that I wouldn’t be around to see it. I said I was a writer back then, not a good prognosticator.

I had a lot of dolls and stuffed animals, and I’d cast them in my adventures and adopt different voices and many, many scary predicaments--and some happy endings. When I had playmates I’d try to do the same with them. No wonder I got chided for being bossy more than once.

In junior high, in the grip of Beatle fever, I penned a long Beatles story, and Lindsay Bloom, one of my Beatle-loving girlfriends typed it for me. It ran 40+ pages, single-spaced. Lindsay went on to the role of the secretary in Stacy Keach’s Mickey Spillane TV series, and I’ve heard she married one of the actors in The Dukes of Hazzard. I wonder what ever became of that manuscript. Probably ash-canned 30 years ago…or else Lindsay’s holding onto it until I become a world-famous author. Yeah, that’s probably it.

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