How I wrote the book, by me (because he’s making me do it), part 1

I’d just finished writing for the day (probably) when Derek got home. Within minutes of walking through the front door, he asked me to sit down and write the story of the book. The story of how it was written, I mean. Did I mention that it’s our anniversary? I think it’s our ninth. Or twenty-ninth. It’s hard to say. It depends on when you started counting, and naturally, we’re not using the same method. (I’m lucky he remembers it at all, but I suspect that I have a calendar to thank for that… Outlook or Google, I’m guessing.)

I’m on vacation, and for once, I’m actually using the time to make progress on a book (as opposed to playing Red Dead Redemption 2 until my eyes bleed, which is what I’d be doing, otherwise). Usually, I write in the corners. I’ll write during the lunch break that I never really take, or late at night when everyone else is asleep. I get ideas and then text or email them to myself so that they don’t get lost. I write isolated paragraphs, and then go back later and write chapters around them.

In other words, I’m kind of a mess.

I still have what I believe is the first story I ever wrote. I was four, I think. It’s written in red crayon on that crumbly yellowish sketch paper we used to use all the time when I was a kid. My mother saved it, because that’s what mothers do… and I still have it, because my mother started shoving memorabilia at me as soon as I was old enough and responsible enough to be expected to keep track of it. Which, I guess, is also what mothers do.

It’s a stunner, let me tell you. I can tell you the whole story – I have it memorized. (I’d scan the dang thing in and just show it to you… but while I’m certain that I have it somewhere, I’m not entirely sure where. Because that’s what I do.)

Here it is, my first short story, written when I was four-ish (I think):

I am me.

Yes, I am me.

I will always be me.

I would never want to be anybody else but me.

The end.

See? I was already writing fiction like a pro.

(Derek is now harassing me to find the thing, so I’ll probably spend some of my precious vacation time searching through trunks for a forty… something… old piece of paper. Which, needless to say, is more time that I won’t spend playing Red Dead Redemption 2.)

My eight grade teacher used to rave about my writing. She told me several times that I should become a writer. There were other teachers who did the same. In a college writing class, we had to write a short story, post it to our group, and then critique each other’s stories. When someone complained that they didn’t understand my story, didn’t see the point, and didn’t get my imagery, the professor jumped in and defended it. He actually used the words, “This is a perfect short story,” which completely blew me away.

One of my other professors burst that bubble pretty brutally a couple of weeks later. I got a paper back, and in the comments, she’d written, “You write very well – you could be an attorney. Have you considered law school?”

No offense to all the lawyers out there, but… ouch.

Mostly, I was bemused. My mother has spent my entire life waiting for me to write a book, but the hell of it is, I knew that if I ever got around to actually writing one, it would be exactly the kind of book she’d never choose to read. Life, amirite?

Meanwhile, I was pretty sure that my thing was computers. I mean, yes… I’m always writing. Most of it is dreck. Lots of it is half-written fan fic that will never see the light of day. (Forget it. Never.) I did that for fun, and because I had to. I couldn’t help it. Occasionally, I’d write a short story, because the idea landed on my head and wouldn’t go away. But mostly, I loved computers. Not just playing games (though I do plenty of that, believe me), I liked figuring out all kinds of stuff. Video editing, streaming, graphics work… I wanted to know how to do everything, at least a little. Spoiler alert: I ended up in IT.

In October of 2008, I thought enough is enough. I should write a damn book. I wasn’t expecting it to be easy, but hell – I’d been practicing for it my whole life. I didn’t think that it would be any good – regardless of what anyone else says, I’ve never really liked more than maybe 10% of what I’ve written, and that’s on a good day. I didn’t expect to publish it, or that anyone would ever want to read it, let alone buy it… I just wanted to know if I could do it.

To be continued!

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