From a very early age, I loved to read. I read every chance I got. And everywhere. I read in my car while driving (which resulted in a fender bender), in the bathtub, and yes, even in the shower. I ruined a good many book this way.
I believe that this kind of love for reading never goes away. Just like the love you have for your child. I think that to be able to create your own stories you must have an enormous respect for the art we call writing.
I never really thought I was talented or gifted at writing. In sixth grade, I was enrolled in a program called SAGE. I am not sure exactly what SAGE stood for but I do remember that it was designed for students that complained that the average classes were much too easy. The school hoped that by designing this program it would keep these children from getting into trouble due to their boredom. Science, Math, and Creative Writing/Language Arts were the classes chosen to be elevated. There were 15 of us special kids.
I cannot specifically recall what I wrote about in Creative Writing that year but I do recall what my teacher said to me at the end of that year.
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Dani, she said, You have a real talent for creative writing, It's just in you and you really should consider pursuing it.
I remember feeling stunned and surprised at what she said. No one had ever said anything about my writing. Also, admittedly, I felt rather proud. After all, I was only in sixth grade. She just seemed so sure that I had a gift.
That entire summer before the seventh grade I wrote and I wrote. Her words had so inspired me! I started out writing short fiction stories but soon switched to writing plays. I had decided that I wanted to have one of my plays performed by the drama club before I graduated high school.
I myself had been in drama since the fifth grade and we did a major performance in front of the school every year. No one knew that I had secretly booby-trapped the props in previous performances to make them humorous. What? you say. Let me give you an example.
That year I had managed to land the lead role. I was to play Sir Lancelot in a play about him saving the kingdom by slaying the terrible people-eating dragon. It was not intended to be a comedy. As a matter of fact, I found the writing really rather boring.
The day of filming and performing in front of the school came around. Parents were invited as well as friends and family. It seemed that the whole city had shown up.
Little did my teacher or any of the cast know that I had scrapped my suit of armor and was changing into a wild outfit including moon boots and a construction hat. I had also rigged the dragon's tongue to fall off with its first line, as well as rigged my sword and shield to fall apart when I charged the dragon.
It was hilarious! Caught on film! Everyone loved it, including me. I didn't even mind the detention I received for doing it.
My teacher came to me and told me that she didn't mean for me to change another person's work when she told me that I had a talent for writing. She told me to make my own. I chose that moment to tell her all about the play I had written the previous summer. A comedy with commercials instead of intermissions. Parody's of current commercials that were famous back then including the famous Where's the beef? commercial. She told me to bring her a copy and she would take a look. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-russell/portrait-of-a-writer_b_6087212.html)
Low and behold, by the end of 8th grade, with a ton of hard work and a lot of changes it was ready to be performed by the drama class. My dream had come to pass. It was truly amazing to watch my work in action. I cried and was truly moved by the support my teacher had given me.
I am not sure why or how I lost the inspiration to write throughout high school. I look back now and think it could have been so many things. First of all, it is very hard to top something as large as having my work performed. I feel it would have been very hard for me to be rejected after that. I also was in a very unhappy home life which resulted in my running away from home. I got into drugs and alcohol. All of these things culminated into apathy. I dropped out of high school but later returned to graduate with a diploma at the age of 20.
I went through many tragedies but in 1999 was crippled by the loss of my husband and three-year-old son in a tragic accident. It was then that I decided to write a book about my life and try my hand at writing once again.
I got absolutely nowhere. I gave up before the completion of Chapter 1. I had no creative juice. I found my writing so boring. I couldn't recall much of anything. It was heartbreaking. I scrapped it and any idea I had of writing ever again.
So here I am, about to turn 40 years old and this is the first writing I have done since my book failure. I found this paper came to me quite easily. How good it may be is yet to be seen. I truly hope that it is enjoyable to you, my dear reader, as it has been for me to write. It has felt wonderful to pick up the pen once again.