It started in 3rd grade.
Remember those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books? They offer alternate endings at the end of each chapter so reader basically chooses how the story ends? Well, at 8 years old I thought the choices were crap. The endings I made up were SO Much better.
And then there was Puff the Magic Dragon . . . the saddest cartoon in the whole world. Is there anything so depressing as an imaginary friend dying because a child stopped believing? That show came on once a year, leaving me depressed for weeks. Truly. Every time I hear that song I want to suck my thumb.
I also went to school with some really mean kids. Not many. But enough. And you know just one jerk kid can make life hell. If you let them.
That was elementary school, the beginning of my story.
Middle school came and went (thank God), but I was still reading fairy tales. In 8th grade, a girl picked up my copy of The Witch in Room 6.
“Who’s reading THIS?” she laughed, holding it like a pair of crusty underwear. She was in the ‘smart’ classes and I was mortified. Everyone was reading Flowers in the Attic (a great, trashy read) but I still preferred Roald Dahl. She saw my face and her eyes said I’m sorry but the saddest thing happened after that. I stopped reading. Not her fault. Mine. I didn’t have sense enough to know kid lit was a preference, not a mental deficiency. So my own little story, left alone, began to hibernate.
And then I grew up.
I started writing mostly out of boredom. On maternity leave I thought it’d be sweet to write a little story for my babies. I’d let Christopher illustrate it then run to Kinko’s to make copies. That was the plan. But when I sat down to write, it vomited out of me so violently my pencil broke. Characters I’d tucked away burst out of hiding, reintroducing themselves. They brought friends. They had a lot to say, because they’d grown up, too. I filled a few notebooks. Then a few more. I actually found nerve to tell people I was writing a book which is HUGE because then I actually had to produce something or they’d call me a liar.
And here’s what I know. It feels better out than in. And writers CANNOT do this alone. We need love and support. Encouragement. Kleenex. Wine. Concert for George. I must give explicit thanks to Heather, Pam, Diana, McKenna, Linda, Kevin, Ecila, Cindie, Lisa, Anita, Summer, Mom, Lois, Annie, Ashton, Mark, Sara, Rose, Tara, Liz, Jena, Angie, Bob, John, Emily, Cat, Jaycee, Kristina, Bronwyn, Melissa, and Bev, who modeled as Briony.
But mostly I say thank you to Christopher, who loves me through my tantrums, and Grandpa, whose voice I still hear.
Now let me tell you a story.
will be available tomorrow on Amazon.