When I was a child, I was influenced by the books I read. It’s where I picked on tips on how to fool my parents (Place towel beneath door so that lamplight doesn’t shine through). Where I learned to walk like a lady (curl fingers of hand, hold palms out). I discovered the psychology behind the items we use (when moving from beloved home, food from a chipped plate tastes funny). Most of all, I realized the value of imagination (if you fall asleep beside a rock, can you really tumble into the days of cavemen?).
When I was old enough to realize I had choices I decided I was going to be an artist, a writer, a dancer, and a veterinarian. Later I added rock star to my list. When I entered college, I decided I wanted to be an actress. A few semesters later I changed that to radio personality or news anchor.
And then I ended up behind the counter of a clothing retail establishment.
That’s right. After all that planning and scheming I gave it all up to ring up grouchy customers and make barely above minimum wage. Which meant in order to afford food, lodging, and gas for my car I had to hold down two retail jobs.
Through all this, I wrote. Stories, novels, songs, poems. And I read everything I could get my hands on. This was before the days of blogging, when the only person I was writing for was myself. When I tried to sell my short stories, rejection chased me around like an irate skunk. I smelled of failure for years. That’s when I got the brilliant idea to start reading how to write. What a novel idea.
And that is how I began my journey. And, in case you’re wondering, I’m still influenced by books. (Still wondering if I can fall asleep and live out a few days inventing fire.)