I’ve been writing nearly all my life so this story goes way back. I was at a friend’s house and we were listening to his stereo. He had a stereo with speakers to the ceiling and just to date us, this was at the advent of FM radio. He also had a lock on the door of his room; I wasn’t even allowed to close the door to my room. I don’t remember the exact line anymore, but the start of a story, first line, popped into my head and in the midst of what we were doing, I told my friend I had to go home. I put my coat on and all the way home spoke that line like a mantra until I could safely store it on paper. I wrote it longhand first and then I typed it on my manual Underwood 5.
If I remember correctly, that line morphed into the idea for a series of stories I was going to name “The Dapper Duo;” of course my friend and I were the dapper duo. The stories never made it into existence, but that night I became a writer. I was fifteen and the idea of writing had never occurred to me until that moment. How or why the line popped into my head I don’t know nor did it matter then or still. I began writing, and no matter what else I’ve done in my life, I have always written. My friend became a recording engineer.
I believed back then that one didn’t become a writer–one was born a writer. I believed I was born a writer and at seventeen when I heard a college orientation presentation by Dr. Robert Day at Queens College, any inkling of ever doing anything but major in English and write disappeared.
After one semester at Queens College, I set off for OSU where I was given a scholarship and work/study stipend to attend the Honors Program in English. (I would meet up with Robert Day again some ten years later when I went to Queens for my MA in English.) OSU’s was an intensive honors program that allowed students to do nearly two-thirds of their credits in their major.
Those years I wrote poetry; I wrote poetry until Sanny, a Comp. Lit. teacher and friend, told me my poetry was s–t and I should try fiction. Well that didn’t seem so bad. At least he didn’t tell me to quit writing.
The rest of my life story is a blah, blah, blah but for the fact that all along I wrote, and for the early part of my writing career I believed that publishing didn’t mean anything. I was an artist and only the writing mattered, writing and the love of writing. My talent, I thought, was God-given and since it was divine intervention that brought me to it, that’s what I was.
About 1989 my Underwood was replaced by my first computer. Okay. For laughs, it was a Packard Bell, cost $2000.00 and the specs: 64K RAM and a whopping 2 mb, yes that is the correct first letter, hard drive. You needed to know DOS then and a whole lot of other stuff. You didn’t just sit down in front of a computer and go to work on it.
The most significant new thing about having a computer was that I had to learn to compose on the computer. From roughly 1966-1989 I wrote longhand and then typed the manuscript. Cut and paste back then was actually cut and paste. Along with a pen, I worked with rubber cement, a ruler (because I can’t cut straight with scissors) and scotch tape. Well thank you Lord for those newfangled devices: the PC. Then scanners made some things a lot easier.
This blog, I hope, will be about writing. I really don’t want to write much about myself or my life or the other things I do. I would like for anyone and everyone who views this to feel free about sharing comments, tips, ideas, expertise, feelings–you get the idea–about writing. Share some writing if you will, and I will put some up too as this moves along. Share some cool sites, or cool books you know. I would like this blog to be what it is named, Writer’s Play.
So let’s play and have some fun with words.
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Make sure to hug your kids today and make sure you tell them you love them and like them too.