Dec. 29, 2018

The beginning

My writing career started early.  In fact as soon as I knew that words could be strung together to form a story, I wanted to write.  I had no idea how much effort would be required, so I just leaped in.  If I thought it, I wrote it down.

Now, I'm no spring chicken.  When I say I wrote, I mean I wrote.  With a pen and paper.  Then with a typewriter.  Then on my son's old computer that had no fancy embellishments like internet or spell check.  I think the screen was yellow.  Cut and paste was a great technical breakthrough back then.

The first time I attempted a real book I was seven.  I had whooping cough and had coughed so hard the blood vessels in my eyes burst, turning me into a ghoulish looking child, with bright red eyes.  "No reading." the doctor said. 

No reading!  I was devastated. Even then, I lived to read. This was in the fifties and TV was still a distant dream in the Canadian north.  Books were my escape.  They even took away my colouring books so I wouldn't strain my eyes.  So there I was, locked in solitary confinement, otherwise called quarantine, bored and scared.  Thats when I saw it..a pen.  It was attached to a clipboard at the end of the bed.  And in a container on the wall...paper towel.  I was on it in an instant. 

I don't remember what the story was about, but I managed to fill many sheets of paper towel before my mom came to visit.  She had the bad judgement to show my work to the doctor.  He was impressed with my tenacity, I'm sure, but not with my disobedience.  Alas, they took away my pen, and to prevent further eye strain, blindfolded me.  I think I was in the hospital for about a week, but to me it felt like months.  I still think taking away my ability to read and write would be the worst fate imaginable.