The First Story I Ever Wrote

Here is the first story I ever wrote:

Once there was a decative who thot thout thoat it was a simple quite thing, but it wasnt.

Right. I think I was about eight years old. No sign of precocity there.

A year or so later was when I discovered the old Royal portable in the back closet. This was  a wide dark place across the back of the house, behind both the dining room and the kitchen. It was full of interesting stuff, including the typewriter. There was still some ink in the ribbon, but the only paper I could find were small pieces of the textured light-blue drawing paper which my father used, with an orange conte crayon, for his first rough sketches. I rolled one in, and wrote a short ghost story of maybe a hundred words, probably less. It couldn’t have been longer, the paper wasn’t big enough.

I found another piece of paper which was slightly larger and slightly more square, and wrote a haunted house story. I quite liked it. (I may still have it somewhere.) I read it to my mother. It began when my character saw the stereotypical old abandoned house and became curious. I had him, as first person narrtor, say something like, “Maybe I shouldn’t have gone in there.” My mother said, “No, he certainly should not.” I took about three breaths, then finished reading it to her. I never read her another one.

Part of the problem, which I didn’t understand until much later, was that my mother didn’t like fiction. She knew it wasn’t true, and so she couldn’t enjoy it.

But she did read The Planet Masters, my first novel, because, well, it was my first novel. Despite all the discouragement, I proved that I could do it. I was afraid that she would figure out that Larson McCade, my anti-hero, was based on my dark side, and think that was who I really was. But she told me that she had quite liked it — because of McCade. She never made the connection between my anti-hero and me, and she never read anything else of mine.

But I kept on writing, despite my mother’s harsh disapproval of my first efforts. I wrote a lot of things, and made notes and lists and charts, all in service of some day turning them into stories. My parents didn’t like this, and thought I was wasting my time, and did their best to make me give it up. But I persisted.

And despite more failures than successes, I continue to write. There were many times when it seemed like simple wisdom to stop. And though I haven’t published that much, I can look back on some of my work with pride, and know that there are people who have read and enjoyed some of my books. And I keep on.

Once there was a riter who thoat thot thout that it was a simple quite thing, but it wasnt. But he kept on writing anyway, and learned how. Because he couldn’t not write. And my few successes have made it worth doing. I can’t not write, after all.

1 Comment

  1. I sometimes worried that my mother would read something I wrote and find it inappropriate. Even though she’s been gone for many years, I still have to beware of that self-limiting feeling.

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