Monday, February 13, 2012
DL Hammons, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Katie Mills, and Matthew Macnish for giving me leave to wander through my past and try to discover where all this storytelling/writing stuff started for me. If you want to join in this awesome blogfest, go to The Origins Blogfest
Please forgive me if my entry starts out too long winded. If you want just the bare bones, scroll to the bold statement that says, "So what does all this personal past history have to do with being a writer?" and read from there. If you are just bored out of your mind, and you want to read more, follow the links I embedded in the text to see other posts I've written on this subject. (Keywords: my grandmother, Peter Pan, and Star Wars)
Long, long ago (ok, maybe not that long) in a small town on a plateau, by the foothills of Mt. Rainier, I spent the first ten years of my life as one of three children in a small neighborhood of retirees and old fields, a combination of suburban and rural life. An only child, I learned quickly from my parents that I wouldn't be able to spend that much time with the other two kids in my neighborhood because I had a tendency to end up in the emergency room after spending much time with them. When we did play together, they taught me: to get up with bloody knees and laugh it off, and how not to cry even when you have a piece of curved glass in your foot, or you've been run over by a bicycle and your leg is fractured. It kind of makes sense that my parents wouldn't let me play with them after all of that. (BTW I was only 5 and visited the ER three times)
So, small town, field next door on one side, retirees on the other side, bully boys in the street behind me, Grandparents across the street with fields and blackberry bushes behind them, plus an acre of climbable trees, open grass, and a nice little niche of three old poplar trees that made a kind of fort. My mom and dad practiced organic gardening, so our yard looked like an overgrown Eden.
My best friend (although I didn't tell my school best friends this) was my German Shepherd/Black Lab dog named Charlie Brown. (He slept on a Snoopy blanket). My parents, and my grandmother loved to tell stories, read books, and make music. My dad had an ercoupe (a small plane), and I started flying with him at two months old.
My first favorite books had to do with lost puppies finding homes, fairy tales, the Children's Bible, and classic Disney stories. My first favorite movies were Peter Pan and Star Wars, although I watched many classics like Top Hat, Singin' In the Rain, and Oklahoma.
So, what does all this personal past history have to do with becoming a writer?
Only child, storytelling parents and grandparents, dog as best friend, big yard and area to run wild in = storytelling on the run with tree-climbing, fort building, singing, dancing, swinging on a tire swing until I felt like I was almost flying, swordfights against invisible opponents (with sword-sticks), and a few gymnastic feats thrown in like one handed cartwheels and handsprings. My imagination was a landscape that was almost as real as the green grass, tall trees, and my furry brother. As a writer, I want to recapture that feeling when I write.
My mom couldn't give me time outs as a punishment because although I hated sitting still, I relished the time I could spend daydreaming without interruption. "Five minutes on the couch, doing nothing? Sure, can we make it 10? I'm not done with my story yet."
My stories that I write today are still rooted in all of that. I love sword fights scenes, gymnastic feats, action adventure, quests, flying, and the hero or group of heroes that fights injustice. I'm still daydreaming some of those old daydreams. I just attempt to put them on paper now, and that challenging, determined attempt to share my imagination with others is what makes me a writer.