I think I always had a desire to write. I had a great imagination and when things were not spectacular at home, I could escape easily into my make believe world. I visualized myself as a great writer,with people everywhere wanting to read my stories. In my dreams I was a best selling author, signing books and selling books at all the big book stores. I didn’t tell anyone as my parents would only laugh at my grandiose ideas.
I remember reading Heidi and Black Beauty and thinking ‘I can write books as good as them’. It was only recently that I learned that Heidi was written in four weeks and Johanna Spyri had written hundreds of children’s stories prior to that book. Twenty film and television productions were based on that book. Now that’s something to strive for! Good thing I didn’t know that way back when I was a little dreamer! Anna Sewell who wrote Black Beauty died shortly after publishing her most famous book which sold fifty million copies. We didn’t have many books in our house in Pasadena but these two great ones were Christmas gifts and they were cherished for many years and well read!
It’s funny how children’s minds work. I waited until Mom and Dad were out of the house and then I wrote on any pieces of paper I could find. It didn’t matter that no one else thought I was a good writer, I wanted to practise and so I did. I never showed those pieces to anyone but kept them under my mattress. One day Mom found some of them and asked me who wrote them and I said”I did!” She didn’t say anything, just passed them back to me.
I learned early that the best way to write was to write what you know. So when my sister Rose went on an unexpected Piggy Back Ride, that’s what I did. I wrote the story and read it to all my siblings. They laughed and I still have that story somewhere. As a teacher in four provinces, I concocted some adventurous stories to keep the children asking for more. One that I heard in Battle Creek, Alberta when I was a 4-H leader was called Tailey Poh, and over the years I told many variations of that story to hundreds of children. I still visit my last school and tell a variation to several classes. Some day I would like to put all the poems, short stories, pieces I wrote for Newfoundland TV Topics into a book, even if the book is only a keepsake for my children and grandchildren.
I’d love to hear your memories of your first stories. I’m hoping with this week filled with my stories and writing insight that some of my St. Shotts’ and Pasadena friends will decide to take fingers to keys and do some writing of their own to talk about their childhood and adult memories. Remember you can do anything you set your heart on. Now get going! I’m clapping you on the back every step of the way.