I have been asked about how and when I began writing. The best answer I can come up with is that I believe storytelling chose me rather than the other way around. I seemed to have been born with the desire to tell stories…maybe that’s a nice way of saying that I’m a natural born liar. In any case, some of my earliest memories are connected with storytelling, both the stories I used to tell classmates as far back as grade school and stories that I have read.
So, in a way writing has always been in my heart. I love it when a story evokes an emotion in a reader…it’s even better if it’s the same emotion I experienced writing it. I love a good movie, but the book is always better because the reader helps make the scenes come alive.
There have been stories that I have read that have had a profound affect on my life. I’m not altogether sure if it’s a case of changing me or simply pointed out what is inside me that I need to accent. The very first of these came from the bible. Which is surprising because at the time I had no bible learning and wouldn’t for another twelve years. It is the story of Ruth.
It inspired me to a tenacious personal application of loyalty and devotion to causes I hold dear. Douglas Southall Freeman’s R.E. Lee (yes, I read all four volumes) cemented that in my heart. Poe added a love of words and mood. I used to read his stories with a dictionary in hand. However, the influence that has kept my writing going is my father. Whether it was intentional or not, he inspired me to a sense of service that came with acceptance of few, but meaningful rewards.
That came in handy when I finally decided to write for publication. My writing and speaking until then had been for private audiences and were generally beaten down by criticism. Deciding to write anyway was very liberating, although destructive of much of what went before. I have already attained all the success I need. When he was dying, my father told me, “I didn’t know you could tell it so well.”
I’ll never have a review half that meaningful again. Of course, I wouldn’t mind writing a best seller, but it’s not necessary for me to be a success or feel validated. Will I keep trying for that best seller…you know it. I believe it’s just around the next bend.