My First Book

I was thinking today about my first foray into writing. I won’t tell you the year (yes, it was that long ago), but I was about seven years old. I had written a mystery novel called, The Windy Night, and my mom typed it on an old gray Remington portable typewriter that I later inherited.

Practical encouragement

She did not just type it in regular portrait format like a letter, but took pains to figure it out so that multiple pages came out in two column landscape mode, front and back, just like the pages of a real book.  It was only eight typed pages in that format (two 8.5 x 11 sheets), but the extra formatting effort was a reflection of her love for me.

Once the typing was completed, I crafted a cover from folded construction paper. I dedicated the book to my older brother, and yes, on the back cover there was an “About the Author” section where I pasted my most recent wallet-sized school photo.

That single copy of The Windy Night did not survive through the years.  If I had it, I would place it in a fancy glass frame and put it on the wall in a place of honor in my home. Nevertheless, that first feeble childhood effort remains enshrined in my mind.  If you read this, it is now enshrined in your mind too, so the memory of it will continue to live beyond me.

Lesson’s learned

Is there something to be learned from my childhood experience? Yes, there are lessons about developing a child’s love of reading and writing, about a parent encouraging writing as a career and about the enduring nature of a mother’s love.

I spent my childhood reading and writing. I created a family newspaper. I worked on high school yearbooks and college newspapers. By the time I was 22 I was making my living as a professional writer. Even though my writing has taken many forms over the years, the ability to string words together in a meaningful way has always been my core skill.  What does my life experience mean to you?  Perhaps this–encourage a kid to write. You’ll be glad you did!

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