Sparkfest Day One: Books that Doomed Me to Write


(I posted this first on my author blog, but want to share it on my writing blog, too.)

Today marks the start of Christine Tyler's Sparkfest that I blogged about yesterday. I'm so hyped!

Here's the recap:
"As writers, we're always striving to get out a message of inspiration to others. This blogfest is a celebration for those who have done this for us."

Today, I want to answer her first question:

What book made you realize you were doomed to be a writer? 

This is the most impossible question to answer, because in truth, there was no single book that "doomed" me. There were hundreds. I'll bet this is true for most writers. My earliest memories include picture books galore such as Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat, Maurice Sendak's Higglety Piglety Pop, and Harold and the Purple Crayon. When I got older, and was the weird kid who didn't fit it, I ran away with the Boxcar Children. I hid in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with From the Mixed of Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I space traveled with A Wrinkle in Time.

As I got older, the library was my refuge from an unhappy childhood. I checked out everything I could on every obsession that caught me: mars, for example, and ESP (see, I told you was a little weird). I read classics such as Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, and heart-wrenching reads like Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. And I wrote. Poems, stories, journals.

Photo by Jeff Smith at Idaho White Water Rafting
Then life swept me down its river and left me clutching my raft for dear life. Years passed. The longing to write never left, but the dream of being a writer was thrown overboard like some non-essential treasure the raft couldn't bear the weight of.

Until my mother died.

And then my father did, too.

The dream turned up on the shore as my raft cascaded over terrifying falls, white water churning below, threatening to take me into its depths. It was there, around the bend, beside the rocks which damned the stream and slowed my plunge downstream.

 I picked it up, turned it over, saw the dream was still shiny and new. Like finding a long lost diamond ring I'd given up hope of ever finding, my joy overwhelmed the fear of entering this new and scary relationship. I picked up a pen and a notebook, and began to write.

For many months, it was a secret passion. I'll tell you more tomorrow, and share one of my first journal entries from those days when I was a closet novelist.

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