I wrote my first book at age nine, something about a flying car. Because I’d already figured out I could draw pretty well, wouldn’t it be a great idea to write my own book and illustrate it, too? And shouldn’t a child’s book be written by a child anyway? This was a perfect match of my skills to share with the right audience. As much as it was a joy to create, my first ever manuscript was eventually put away in a drawer for posterity and no one else to read but me.
Then in high school I wrote my own magazine, “Sports Almanac.” I not only penned every word from cover to cover (all typed on my Smith Corona in left and right justification!), but silk screened every picture. So exhausting to produce, I only made one edition a year, for a whopping two-year run.
In college, writing became less about fun than thesis papers. Then came plain old life, followed by mid-life. By forty, even if I’d had the urge to return to writing, I had nothing to say (although wouldn’t have admitted it at the time).
It wasn’t until I’d been around the block a few decades that the urge – the need – to write rose above all other artistic endeavors I’d pursued for over twenty years. It started with a novel about my life’s travels through the southwest. Then, screenplays. But five years of trying to cram my movie story ideas through the filters of a screenplay format, not to mention the film industry’s narrow trendiness, forced me to stop writing altogether.
Eventually, I returned to writing prose and experienced a huge relief. That’s when my memoir, Maybe Boomer, began. Although five years in the making, it was joyride the entire trip. Because of that joy, I wrote everyday, and because of that, I realized I was becoming a good writer, too.
Before this, I’d spent twenty years honing my skills in pastels, but stopped. Ultimately, I didn’t like the process in making them. I’d spent even more time writing music, but stopped that, too, because it was too lonely an experience, especially since I was too stage-shy to share my compositions. But in discovering writing, I’ve found a creative outlet I love so much, one in which I seem to care much less about the end product. For me, writing is the ultimate creative outlet. It fulfills me. And I know my written words will touch others.
In composing Maybe Boomer, I’ve created an adult book for adults. Ironically, it’s as much about a kid as it is an adult. This coming of age story set in the 50s, 60’s and 70’s also follows through with the profound effect those years have had on me since those decades.
As it’s turned out, I had something to say when I was a kid, and I have something to say now. I wouldn’t have said anything without writing.
Photo credit above: Paul Kane