Stephen King suggested (very strongly) in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, that writers must read. I have taken that to heart, though I’d be lying if I said it was a difficult task. I (expletive) love to read. The first book I remember reading by my own choice because of one of those class trips to the school library and a child’s view of the plethora of gorgeous spines was Beverly Cleary's Ramona, the Pest. I’d been eight and I was hooked. I haven’t stopped reading since and would admit to a major book addiction – my home is filled with stacks of them. I’m a firm believer in the notion that you can never have too many books. Okay, maybe you can, but the addict in me would argue the point.
I vividly remember a children’s toy and bookstore in a mall of my hometown of Klamath Falls, Oregon. I would save up my babysitting, yard-work, odd-job money and whenever I got the chance would go to that little shop where they sold Sunfire YA romance novels. I read every one that little store sold, so proud of myself because those books were three hundred pages or more. I may have moved on by reading more genres and tales, but my love for young adult literature remains.
Want a recommendation? Just ask . . .
To quote Stephen King (again if you’re paying attention, and, yes, there will be a quiz later): “Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”
I spent a lot of my childhood on a ranch outside of Klamath Falls, Oregon. TV was relegated to one channel and the radio set to talk-radio farm channels or static. No other children in the neighborhood other than my special-needs sister. I had to make my own fun, so I spent a lot of time making worlds, mostly with my toys. These weren’t worlds built around romance and love but mystery, intrigue and adventure. These were the make believe worlds that drove my imagination.
The first story I remember writing down was a story about an older man going to visit a friend he knew from the war. They had coordinated the meeting to take place on a specific date many years prior and though life had changed for him, he wasn’t going to let his friend down by not making good on his promise. When he arrived at the meeting place, the main character offered his friend the flowers that he’d brought. It’s at this moment that we, the reader, understand the protagonist’s friend is dead, and our main character has arrived at a cemetery to pay tribute to his fallen friend. I was ten - not that I knew much about being elderly or a veteran from a war - and I read the story to my mother. Even though she’s a biased audience, her reaction to that story sold the feeling of writing.
I know that I would never be able to survive without creating stories. They are the support system King identifies. Though milestones in my life have changed and brought seasons of joy and grief, altering my journey, writing has remained the one constant.