The very first book I remember loving was A Christmas Carol. I got a little Weekly Reader illustrated version of the Dickens classic when I was in 2nd grade. I wish I still had that book, though I suspect it long ago fell apart. I used to read it all the time, regardless of season. That story is still one of my favorites. It is a Thanksgiving tradition at our house to watch the George C Scott movie version. It’s less enjoyable now, what with the children screaming for Star Wars or Minnie Mouse or some such, but it’s tradition! They’ll thank me for it when they’re older. Or not.
There were always books at home when I was little. Mom was and still is a voracious reader. In those days, a hardcover book was a luxury. I remember spending hours and hours (In retrospect, it was probably more like twenty minutes.) in the mall bookstore waiting for Mom to pick out a book. And this was the 80’s, so book stores only carried books– no toys, no stuffed animals, maybe a calendar or two, but that was it. The misery would continue once we got home because Mom would dive into that book and not come up for air until it was done. She’d read at the dinner table, in bed, in the car at stoplights– everywhere. I would get so jealous for her attention. Now, I’m jealous over the author’s ability to tell a story that captivating.
I don’t know when it was exactly that I decided I wanted to tell stories. I’ve always made up stories in my head, and the recounting of a good story in my family is something of an art form, but the writing … I still don’t know when that bug bit me. Even now, I find it difficult to talk about writing or about being an author. I feel like a seven year old announcing that she wants to be an astronaut. And really, the reaction I get when I do tell people is about the same. “Oh, isn’t that lovely.” The unspoken yeah right, like that’s going to happen is ever present. I don’t want to become a writer; I’m already a writer, but sure, I want to earn a living telling stories. The way I see it, earning a living doing anything these days is damned hard, so you might as well put all that effort into doing something you love.
More than anything, I want to tell a story so engrossing that a woman who’s worked all day will decide to skip dinner in favor of just reading. I want to spin a yarn so captivating that a mom will read it in the bleachers while the other team is up at bat. I want to create a world so real that when the buzzer on the dryer goes off, a woman somewhere will look up from my book and blink at her unfamiliar surroundings. I want to write a book for my mom, one that’ll leave her untouched coffee cooling on the breakfast table beside her while she escapes into my story.