I loathe “why” questions, though when I turned age 10 through 31 — I became driven by why questions. That’s quite another story.
My sister wrote a fantasy story when she was 11 years old or so and asked me to read it. It was so good I asked her if I could send it off to “Jack and Jill” magazine for possible publication. She said “No.” Subsequently I pleaded her to get it published and that may have had the opposite effect on her desire to write.
Maybe there was some jealousy in me about her writing. I continued to be an avid reader and visual artist. I won several Book Fairs with my posters encouraging people to buy books at our elementary school and won books as prizes for best poster three years running: Jack London, Edgar Allen Poe and Washington Irving. I loved adventures especially outdoor adventures.
I spent 3rd grade through all of High School surrounded by thousands of acres of apple orchards, farms, woods and watersheds that surrounded 4 to 5 houses in the “wilderness” a mile or so from the suburban boundary. But I didn’t begin my thirst for writing stories until I was twelve years old.
I wrote a short story for a creative writing project in 6th grade called “The Great Race”. It was about a crew of four in the fifty-foot sloop sailing around Cape Horn in South America. My teacher flunked me because he said I plagiarized the story. I knew that I hadn’t. My father went to bat for me and explained our sailing outings on Sunday and that he had taught me many nautical terms as well as tacking into the wind, sailing before the wind, etc. The teacher was adamant that I had stolen the work. When my dad asked him to produce the work, I had stolen from, the teacher could not name the novel, short story or film. I got an “F” on the story.
I took it as a complement and began writing stories.
Later as I read the classics and saw some Shakespeare plays performed I fell in-love with the sound of words.
Why I write:
1. I love the sound of words in my head. I love the web and weave of words and the images they evoke.
2. I love a good story with plot-points, twists and turns whether driven by character or plot.
3. I love complex stories that closely mirror the complexity and mystery of life.
4. I love ideas — especially in non-fiction — the exploration of a premise, taking a subject to its logical extreme and exploding the boundaries to see what’s beyond.
5. I love the process of simple and complex problem-solving through characterization, paradox, seeming chaos and those ah-ha moments.
6. I love creating more questions as answers to drive the journey through the clouds of mystery towards epiphanies. I love stories and words that can transport.
7. Writing is its own reward.