I may have written my first story in Grade Three, but I came to writing long before that.
Reading is a suspected cause of starting on that slippery slope to writing, and my greatest hope on entering First Grade was to learn to read. Sure enough, by Grade Three I produced my First Work, a ghost story liberally illustrated with primitive skeletons and ornate, very drippy daggers.
With much pride, I gave my Great Elementary School Novel to my teacher, who took one look at the grisly drawings and called my mother with the news that her child was mentally ill. Fortunately, my mother had a sense of humor.
Being a bit dense, I ignored all cautionary hints and went on to scribble more tales, a radio play featuring a horse (the neighs were popular), made a brief foray into writing with another (she got bored after two chapters), and then into high school where I reveled in Hesse, Camus, and other cheery types. Like many teens, I discovered madness, rebellion, and fantasy. What fun! The stories were all very grim and filled with lush adjectives. I had found my destiny!
I also liked to eat and needed a job.
But I continued to write Serious Literature and read, opting for a degree in World Literature so I’d have an excuse to read anything that intrigued. After the BA, however, I found my employment options very limited: teaching (major stage fright ended that), writing ditties for Hallmark (poetry is one genre I never understood) or working for the government. I opted for the last, but my various jobs included a lot of writing. (This was before the advent of canned paragraphs.) Much legal and budget stuff, officially non-fiction, but it was the one thing I always did well enough to keep a job.
Then came the day when I saw my future as “retirement”. Maybe I should say that is when I “came to writing”, but obviously that wasn’t accurate. Longtime readers never leave writing, let alone come to it. Nonetheless, before I jumped the bureaucratic ship, I took classes and went to mystery conferences. A few years after The Great Leap, my medieval mystery was accepted by Poisoned Pen Press.
So now I have officially “come to writing”, but I suspect writers are born with the longing and are never truly content until they find some way to become story-tellers. I think I “came to writing” the first time I heard a story told.
What do you think?