Writer: An Origin Story (Without Capes and Tights) (I know, bummer)

Hey all!  Long time, no see.  Sorry about that.  Work took a sudden turn in a spiralling roller coaster of disaster and horror and I’ve been stuck working 12 and 13 hour days for the past month.  Not fun except when I finally get the paycheck, and definitely not conductive for trying to blog as well as write.  Writing won out in the end, that keeps me more sane, but now I am back!  Hooray!

Anyway, here is to getting back on track writing wise.  *lifts tequila*

Every writer has an origin story, just like a superhero, or a grand villain, depending on where you fall in the spectrum of things.  Some start young, some not so young, but if you think about your journey I’m sure you can retrace it back to a single or series of events that flicked the writer lightbulb on in your head and you decided, hey, this is what I wanna do.

Mine happened in third grade.

See, I’ve been writing down and telling stories forever.  I had a rapt audience in my little brother and our collection of barbies and G.I. Joes, but I never quite put together the fact that people wrote all the books in the library that I raided like a viking in England.  Not until I met John R. Erickson.

John R. Erickson is the author of the Hank the Cowdog series, a children’s mystery series that centers around a cast of animal characters set on a Texas ranch.  The library in town had all of those books in prominent display because, while it’s an awesome series, the author is also local to the area with his own ranch not even an hour from the tiny town I grew up in.  I absolutely adored the series, not only because it was based in a locale I was intimately familiar with, but there were also audio cassettes of the books with strange and hilarious voices for all the characters.  My brother and I played those tapes until they wore out, getting hours of fun from them on rainy days.

In third grade, my parents took me to some kind of event at the Perryton, TX museum.  Even then I was a sucker for museums, archaeology, and anything having to do with history.  It just so happened that Mr. Erickson was also there doing book signings.  I wasn’t sure why he was writing his name in all those nice shiny books, and, indeed, was kind of worried since defacing books was right up there with dog-earing pages according to the librarian code of conduct.

That’s when Mom told me he wasn’t going to get in trouble.  “He’s the author.”

Author.  A word I’d often heard but never understood the meaning.  Mom explained.  “He’s the one that writes the books you like.  He also reads the audiobooks and does the voices.”

The lightbulb that went off in my head at that moment was more akin to a crack of lightning glancing off the curvature of my cranium.  He wrote the books I loved.  He was a person telling stories.

I was a person and told my own stories, too.

After that walking into the library was like entering an entirely different world.  I saw all the books on the shelves and ran my fingers over the names of the authors and thought, these are written by people.  Just like me.  I’d been telling and writing little stories of my own since I could talk and write, but I never made the connection.  Once I did, I knew deep inside my little third grade heart that a writer was what I wanted to be, first and foremost and for always.

And I’ve been doing that ever since.

So, you.  What’s your writerly origin story?


2 thoughts on “Writer: An Origin Story (Without Capes and Tights) (I know, bummer)

  1. shaghood@comcast.net

    Glad to see that you are back. I missed reading your stories. Send any thing you can. We are getting ready for a short trip out of town so I won’t be here for a week or so but I anxiously await your stories. I am tickled to know a writer. Love you Aunt Sharon


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