I read all the time. By the light of a flashlight under the covers at night. In the light of day as I walked to school. (I usually had a bruise in the middle of my forehead from walking into lampposts!) Curled up in the round wicker chair by the window in the last bit of twilight.
I read so much that by the time I was eleven I had out-read the children’s section of the public library, much to the consternation of the librarian. She didn’t know what to do with me. (This was in the days before children had access to the entire library collection.) You stayed in Children’s until you were thirteen. Only then could you move up to the Young Adults section. But there I was two years early and out of books.
The Children’s Librarian consulted the YA librarian who sought out the Head Librarian. She called my parents who gave their permission for me to venture into the YA realm a full two years early!
That’s where I met Madeleine L’Engle and my life changed completely. There was a depth to her writing that I hadn’t encountered before. Vicky, Meg, Poly, Camilla, Calvin, Zachary and so many others came to life for me in a way I’d never dreamed possible. I stopped devouring books and began savoring them and the transformation from reader to writer began.
I wrote my first book when I was eleven. It was 78 hand-written pages. I could never write short stories. My imagination was too big to restrict my characters to just a few scenes. I was constantly docked marks for incomplete work in English class but in grade eight Mrs. Whittlesea (isn’t that a glorious name for a junior high English teacher?) told me that I had the heart of a writer! I floated home on clouds of euphoria and began the hunt and peck method of typing out my first official manuscript.
I actually did get an article published in Seventeen magazine just after I graduated high school. And a few years later I had a picture book published by a small Canadian press. I’d followed the old adage “write what you know” and had concocted a story about my little family, starring my daughter. The book ended with the line “…but most of all they were happy.” Sadly my husband wasn’t and I soon found myself a single mother. I lost the ability to dream for a while under the stress of working to put food on the table and a roof over our heads.
And then I went back to school, turning my love for books into a practical library degree. I worked as a school librarian for 14 years and my current position is in the school board resource centre. I not only get paid to read…but someone else pays for the books I read! It’s a dream job – one I buffer with a part-time position at a college library.
No rest for the weary and no time to write…or so I thought until I stumbled onto romancefanfiction.net. The lure was too great and I started writing again. And once I’d begun the old dreams began to surface and I suddenly find myself hurdling forward, barely able to catch my breath!
What am I doing here? Hyperventilating most of the time and holding long discourses with God. If only I could learn to stop talking long enough to listen for an answer! How have the rest of you expressed it? Rollercoaster ride? Nerve-wracking? Tough? Definitely. Humbling? Absolutely. So, taking a deep breath, I close my eyes and press send…