FIRST - I NEVER SAW MYSELF AS A WRITER
As a child and through most of my adult life, likely due to attention deficit disorders and learning disabilities, I simply hated writing. I was terrified whenever I was given any sort of writing assignment.
Two life facts...
1) From first grade into high school, I rarely if ever turned in anything but a first draft for any given assignment, and these drafts were dreadful. As a result, I pretty much received Ds and Fs in any subject that demanded written work. To obtain final writing assignments, my teachers would beg, demand, and even send home notes to my parents with stated consequences, but it was to no avail.
Essay exams were a nightmare. Give me a multiple choice test any day.
2) In 6th grade, I was required to spend countless hours with Mrs. Wakefield, a kindly older private tutor, to redo all of the spelling and grammar workbooks I had completed since first grade. And guess what. It didn't help; it made things worse. Jill and Jake see spot run. Humiliating.
And yet, here I am, today, becoming a writer. Go figure. I believe my efforts at writing are fueled by two things: scars of self doubt brought on by having deeply sub-par spelling and grammar skills and painful memories of being compared negatively to all those around me who excelled in academics, including siblings and fellow classmates.
I had always been an energetic, creative, and outgoing child, as an adult as well, but given I lacked the academic skills needed to express what I had in my mind and imagination, I remained totally bottled up. So, I spent my time building go-carts, massive forts, minibikes, and obstacle courses. I remember once skipping school due to an "illness" I had contracted to spend the entire day inventing a bedroom-sized contraption that allowed a small figure attached to a pulley ride a string-line that started at the ceiling at the far side of the bedroom, moved to various places in the room, and seamlessly ended at the floor at the base of the bedroom door. For me, it was six hours of bliss, but alas, I was, then, one day further behind in school. Oh well. Returning home from work, my dad barked, "If you were well enough to build this damn contraption, you should have been at school, dummy."
So what changed?
During my adult years, employment settings regularly required writing, and little-by-little some skills emerged. But more importantly, word processing became accessible to everyone, and not having to rewrite entire pages when there was one silly mistake on one page became the key to my recovery. Only having to make one quick change at the point of one mistake or to quickly rewrite a sentence or a paragraph, well, that was like taking a hit of heroin - no pain, no turmoil, euphoria, immediate relief. In fact, rewriting and self editing became enjoyable, even rewarding. I never would have believed it.
That little three-year-old boy on the cover of One Afternoon in Saint Paul would enter, three years later, in 1959, a world where humiliation was the air that filled the room. Somehow he held his breath long enough to escape that space.
So, my writing is about cocoons being torn asunder from within revealing entities that are beautiful to behold.
Having fun reading what I've written drives me as well. It's like riding a go cart that I've just finished building.
If you enjoyed reading One Afternoon in Saint Paul, join my community. We have plans for three additional Petite Novels. Just above the Blog section on the Home Page, you'll find a Join My Reader List. Provide your email address there, and we'll keep you up to date on the upcoming works - some life stuff, too, but not too much.