Sunday, December 12, 2010

Be Creative. Write Something.

And so it began, words to paper: my first story.  Two really.  A class assignment from my sixth grade teacher.  Be creative, were her words, write something.

And so I did.  Quickly, pure adrenaline and emotion, I poured my twelve year old heart out onto lined notebook paper.  The stories?  I don't remember the first one.  But the second one,  how could I ever forget?  Pulitzer material had never been created by one as young as I. 

It was about a monkey using a banana like a telephone.  He used the banana to call down the tree to order (you guessed it) - more bananas!  It was, in short: BRILLIANT.  ASTOUNDING.  BREATHTAKING.

I wasn't the only one who thought it was the greatest thing ever put to paper.  My teacher chose my stories, both of them, to read to the class.  This was unheard of.  Both stories?  And from me, the new, misplaced southern girl in an Oregon classroom.

The reaction from my classmates?  Let's just say I still get thank you letters all these years later.  That monkey story really changed peoples lives.  Made them sit up and take notice of the world with wider eyes and an open heart.  Made them rethink everything they'd ever thought about anything and everything.

Well, maybe it didn't have that kind of an impact.  Maybe they only laughed at my monkey's antics.

But my stories were transformative, for me.  I'd found the thing I was good at and it instilled a belief in me that I have to this day. 

I'm meant to write.

This seed planted in 1980 has grown within me and is even stronger today than when it was planted.  It has given me a certitude in life, a purpose, one that I still dedicate myself to, some days more easily than others.

On those days when it does not come so easily, I think of that monkey with his banana to his ear saying, "Hello, hello?" and I know that I am still on the right path, even now when I am the misplaced southern girl in Iowa.

Thus my humble beginnings are revealed.

And you, avid reader?  How did it begin for you?  What are you great at and when did you discover this?  How has it impacted your life?

I'd really like to know.  I'm looking for new ideas to steal.  Who knows, you might become my next great monkey story?

3 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Oh, I think it began for me the same way--with an enthusiastic teacher and good reaction from my classmates. :) Plus...it's the only thing I know how to do!

Idabel Allen said...

I bet you were a voracious reader by that point.

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