It’s Sunday again! I’m in the middle of a long weekend and am enjoying it immensely. I finished one gargantuan book and have spent a few hours listening to another while doing creative stuffs.
Pssst….reminder again, only a couple of days left on the giveaway for The Woman in Cabin 10…click through for the original post!
This week I’m doing something a little unusual, a departure from my typical Sunday posts. Why? I just felt like something different, and this idea had been knocking around in my head for awhile. It’s my story, one that’s still growing, but the beginning, at least, I can tell because it’s over and done with.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl.
This little girl’s favorite thing in the world, was a good story. Before she could even speak, she was carrying books around, begging anyone who would take notice, to read stories to her. To tell her stories, if books weren’t handy, but books were her favorite. Her very favorites were ones with pictures of dogs and puppies. She learned to read quite early – possibly the result of her mother growing tired of the ceaseless “read to me, one more?” entreaty. Books…books before toys, books before friends, books before EATING.
She was 4 years old when she wrote her first story. It was only 3 or 4 lines, something about a girl named Mary that was cold because it was winter. It was written on the huge lined paper children use to first practice their letters.
A few years later (in about…1995?), she was using her dad’s fossil of a word processor to type stories when she wasn’t reading them. And she read A LOT. To the point of hiding books between towels in the bathroom so that she could read when nature called. She was frequently caught in school with books between the covers of her textbooks. Her mother always checked for flashlights after she went to bed. She was MOST PUT OUT by the age recommendations on books, because they always seemed ridiculously patronizing and on more than one occasion caused her mother to take possession of a book before she was finished reading it. THE HORROR OF AN UNFINISHED STORY. It started early, people.
Most of the stories she wrote, at first, were fanfic – even though she didn’t know it! She just knew that she loved the characters in her favorite books and she was so sad to not be a part of their lives anymore, that she just HAD to continue their stories. The first of these was some version of The Boxcar Children. It has, mercifully, been lost to the ravages of time.
Not too long after that, she discovered how much FUN it was to make up her own stories! She was forever starting books (though finishing them…that’s another thing), usually revolving around some girl or boy with a giant family (she was an only child until the age of 12) of multiple sets of twins that may or may not have had the same parents. When other kids were out biking around the neighborhood, she was typing away in her own little world.
Eventually, people noticed that she didn’t only like to write, she was halfway decent at it. In school she was pushed into entering some fictional writing contests, and lo and behold – she was always shocked – she won. Not once, but 3 times. Her family – especially her paternal grandfather and grandmother – was thrilled. They were always asking to see her newest stories. Not that she surrendered these very often…she liked keeping her daydreams private, for the most part, but gradually, she realized…she liked the thrill of writing, liked this telling stories to others. She was good at it and it brought her joy.
She was also well on her way to becoming an obsessive book collector. For every Christmas and every birthday, her only request was…more books. Some poor misguided members of her extended family always thought that “books” translated to “clothes.” Sigh. At times she wondered if no one else spoke English, or if there was something wrong with her. Other kids definitely thought there was something wrong with her. But then, eventually she realized it was just easier to pretend she didn’t care what they thought. Pretend, because she did care, and the teasing hurt, but…there were always books.
Then one day, her grandfather – the one who had always told her she could do whatever she put her mind to, the one that loved her writing and told her not to listen to the people who said it was a waste of time – died. He was 69. She was 15. It was a sudden, swift heart attack, with no precursors or warnings. The little girl, who had been painfully, slowly growing up, was devastated. One of the pillars of her world just suddenly vanished.
She thought she would never be able to write again, because every time she sat down at a keyboard, she could only cry. For the first time in her life, words brought her no joy.
To be continued next week…