Monday, August 19, 2013
So, this happened.
I can't remember a time I didn't want to be a writer.
It wasn't always the most popular decision with my more practical parents. Pretty sure my Dad wanted me to be an electrician, or some kind of tradeswoman. And my mom, well, despite her "Alice" nickname (a nod to Alice in Wonderland), she encouraged me to explore all sides of creative writing - like corporate communications and journalism.
Probably a good thing, since making a living writing books isn't easy.
The thing is, financial reward is only one part of the equation. My reasons for writing are varied, complex, confusing for some, I'm sure. (Hubs has a hard time understanding the voices in my head...) But something happened this summer that offered a much-needed reminder of the most important reason I write.
The cutie in the picture above is my cousin Brooke's daughter, Ellie. Much like her mother, she's beautiful, smart - and loves ice cream. It's kind of a IUS tradition.
When I was younger, Ellie's mom used to read over my shoulder while I tapped away on a primitive word processor. Brooke was the first to read Jack of Hearts, the first real book I ever wrote at the tender age of 14. It's crap - well, the actual writing is, but the story is still pretty solid. Anyway, I might say Brooke was one of my first "fans" - I actually cherished those moments at the lake because she was always so EAGER to read more. Talk about fanning a writer's ego.
This summer, I gave Ellie a copy of each of the four books in the Chase Duffy series I write for the Alberta Canola Producers Commission. Ellie read them all - several times, noting that her favourite was the most recent mystery/cookboook, TASTING MY STORY. Clearly, Ellie is following in her mother's footsteps of boosting my writerly confidence.
And then, this happened.
On the last day of my holidays, Ellie came to see me, notebook in hand. She had written two full pages, single spaced, of a complex mystery/adventure story. The protagonist was at the lake with her friends when they stumbled upon a bottle - and inside that bottle were the clues to a grand adventure.
Although the story wasn't finished, I could already tell it would be great. The characters were varied. The description spot on. She even had correct usage of dialogue tags. In fact, Ellie had set the stage for a wonderful mystery adventure - and in what she'd written so far, she had only one or two minor typos.
This was Ellie's first time writing a story.
While I certainly can't take credit for her exemplary reading and writing skills, I can claim a little bit of credit for her inspiration to start writing her own story. She told her Mom, "Now that I know there's an author in the family, I want to try it."
When I was Ellie's age, I was inspired by the likes of Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss. I went on adventures with Lewis Carroll, and later found a love of horror through Stephen King. As a teen, I discovered romance with Nora Roberts, and explored fantasy with Tolkien.
Each of those authors has inspired my own journey of story.
I am absolutely honored and thrilled to be a catalyst for young Ellie's journey. Because THAT, my friends, is why I write.