I never gave much thought as to why I wanted to be a writer; to me it just seemed…obvious, I guess. Like, who wouldn’t want to be a writer? Stories have always riveted me. I read at a very early age and would as soon go without food as without something to read (well maybe not really good food, but definitely average food). Now that I have successfully produced three offspring, I am counting the days until we can all sit together and read stories. I have to admit, I was starting to worry about Bisky. My fantasy was that of her sitting raptly at my knee gazing upon the pages as I would invite her into the world of reading. Yeah, not quite. Instead, I find myself trying to harness the power of a hurricane. Until very recently, the entire joy of reading for my daughter was in holding the book…HERSELF and turning the pages. Very quickly. It is only in the last month that she’s begun to understand that books tell stories. Her favorite right now is when I tell her the story of the three little pigs. Actually, she could care less about the pigs. She likes it when we get to knock on the door, say ‘who is it’ and answer in a growly and threatening voice “IT’S ME!! THE BIG. BAD. WOLF!!!” It’s silly, but it makes us laugh, and even when I have to tell about those pigs seven times in a row and my throat hurts from being the wolf, I love it because I think she’s getting an appreciation for story.
When I first started trying to write real novels I got a little disillusioned at first because it wasn’t as magical to write them as it was to read them. Like all new writers, I spent way too much time describing my ethereally beautiful heroines, down to their eyelashes, and got to the middle of my books and became completely stuck. Why is this so hard? It didn’t occur to me to take writing classes of any kind. For one, I was living very hand to mouth and there wasn’t money for classes but mostly I didn’t know it was okay to admit I didn’t know something and ask for help. Years later, I found myself in Southern California, attending my first critique group. This was the most amazing experience for me! Not only did I get to talk about books and writing for hours, these people liked my books and they helped me immensely. We eventually drifted apart but they taught me so much. Mostly, what I learned is that telling a story really is magical. It’s a whole other world of showing, not telling, using words like delicate tools and really thinking about what you’re doing. It took some of the fun out and then put in way more than was taken out. It took something from a hobby to a passion. Now, when I am telling a story, I feel like I am on an almost sacred mission to give someone a very special and very particular experience. And that’s really cool.