I have had a vivid imagination as long as I can remember.At four my mother said I made up my own bedtime stories. At six I made up elaborate scripts and browbeat mt friends into acting them act in our everyday play.Cowboy and Indian scenarios,hero rescuing the helpless female,lone hero riding into town to mete out justice and sweep the lovely heroine off her feet.Handsome teenage boy gets the girl. I was always the hero,the handsome teenage boy or the brave handsome hero. As I got older the stories changed and became more elaborate. I continued to coerce my younger sister and some of my friends into acting out my scripts.
Being a died in the wool Tomboy,I was never the helpless female. I viewed girls as silly creatures who squealed,fainted when the going got tough and fell down when escaping danger. Why would anyone in their right mind want to be a female?Females stayed home,had crying ,smelly babies,cooked,cleaned house. They always had to be taken care of,protected and constantly rescued.
Obviously they were physically weak and not very intelligent. Why would I want to be a girl?I wanted to be the hero and when we acted out my elaborate scenes I was always the dashing,handsome,hero,who rode in, saved the day, and rode away.No mushy stuff though.Yuck! I certainly wasn't going to kiss a girl or a guy for that matter!
When my mother and father divorced and she married her boss,we moved to my stepfathers farm.Now I was alone,no friends lived nearby and I turned to my imagination and my writing for company.I rode my horse over our 500 acres pretending to be a lone hero, a dashing bandit or whomever my imagination conjured up at the moment. Gradually,I began to accept that not all females were helplessly inept and forever needing to be taken care of and rescued.I began to incorporate strong females into my scenarios.
Day after day,I wrote poetry,composed and sang songs as I rode over our farm.I Occasionally I would write some of them down,but for the most part they existed only in my head.
Eventually I began to write down some of these stories,poems and songs. Before I knew it ,I developed a strong need to write.I soon discovered that I could not ,not write. I would become restless until I picked up pen or pencil and committed whatever I had written to paper.
The farm is long gone now and I have few of the stories ,songs and poems I wrote in those young years.But I kept the most important thing.My love of writing.The thrill and yes,even the frustration of writing a story still have a powerful hold over me.
A physical and emotional need to tell the stories that circle around in my head and whisper seductively to me until I have no choice but to bring them into the physical.
My physical tools have changed and I rarely use paper and pencil now to write a new manuscript.I use my lap top and print out hard copies every few days.However; occasionally,I find a pencil in my hand as I scribble down the latest idea for a new book, a song and rarely, a new poem.I write notes on index cards and stress over plotting,conflict,sentence structure, character arcs,etc. etc!
Writing is hard,lonely and often frustrating work. Occasionally, everything clicks and the story flows almost effortlessly from my head and appears on the screen.However; some days nothing works and every word is like forced crocodile tear, obviously faked and inappropriate. Stubbornly keeping my butt in the chair, eventually, with great effort they come, one hesitant word at a time, until my head aches and I am exhausted.
On those days I wonder why in the world I ever wanted to be a writer.What masochistic tendency compelled me to want to be a writer? I decide I will never be good enough and I should just stop trying. Then the magic happens and the words,as seductive and compelling as a lover's touch, begin to whisper and flow as the story pulls me in and I am lost in the writers zone once again. The outside world and all of the frustrations disappear and my fingers fly over the keys.As the words fill page after page, I remember once again, why I wanted to be a writer.
I don't think that writers have a choice. I truly believe that writers are born and will eventually succumb to the siren call of the muses.It is who and what we are.Ink flows through our veins and we have to write to survive the onslaught of ideas and the insistent clamoring of new characters to be brought to life.
Stephen King once said, and I paraphrase."Writers cannot, not write".