I started my first “novel” in 7th grade in a navy spiral notebook. It was the first seed of a tender dream that someday I would write books.
By then, I had discovered the treasury of books in our school library and had systematically read through them from one end of the bookshelf to the other, row by row. Plus there was all the other books at the public library which I had hardly touched.
Looking back I’m thankful for the libraries I visited. My parents could not afford the luxury of buying books.
I loved stories, good stories. I lost myself in them … always wanting to be like the heroine, I read about. When I read Little Women, I dreamed about marrying someone unusual someday and maybe like Jo, I too would write from my heart.
The books I read taught me character values, where I learned such things as heroes must persevere to overcome and succeed.
But then I became a teenager and the pain in our family life engulfed me, and I became confused and angry. I purposely sought out books about teens who questioned life, and I read the books that then President Reagan said should be banned from school libraries.
Life was not fair. The adults I saw around seemed boring, and I had no desire to grow up and be one of them. Unlike the books of my earlier years, evil seem to overcome good in these books and at times life was too painful to want to go on. Several of them had characters who simply ended it all.
And so the thought also entered my mind. Only the fear of what awaited me on the other side and the thought of hurting my parents – as much as I didn’t like them at the time – held me back. I trudged my way through the turbulent high school years.
By the time I reached college, I was only reading books that were required by my classes. Then one day, I came across a book that had always been around our house … the one that hardly no one read – the one with the red words.
Years earlier, while we were still innocent and wholly believed that the Bible was a holy book, my sister and I had acquired Bibles of our own. For years they sat unopened, collecting dust because I could not understand what shepherds and sheep had anything to do with the life I was trying to make sense of.
But the day came, when my eyes were “opened” and for the first time, I found life and the meaning of life in its pages, and my life was forever changed. If only I had known and “seen” years earlier.
It’s the memories of the stories I’ve read and their impact on me that propels me to go on this journey of writing stories … in hopes that it will whisper hope and life into another fledgling soul out there.