I would almost guarantee that most of us who write, or who await the day we will shuffle our schedules enough to find the time to write, began our young lives as readers. I know I did.
My mother loved to read. She joined the Book-of-the-Month Club many years ago, ignoring the criticism of a large family who regarded unnecessary reading as a waste of time. Time they figured could be better spent drinking an endless supply of Molson’s beer.
And so I read. I read sitting in the grass beside her chair in the warm months of summer. I read by the wood-burning stove while the thermometer tacked to the post on the porch read -25 degrees and the snow lay three feet deep on the gravel road, on the outskirts of the little French Canadian village of Mascouche, Quebec, population 450, not counting the English, of course.
I can’t recall what I read early on, although somewhere along the line I began to search out those stories of adventure and adventurers. I discovered a woman from Minnesota, who wrote about the trials of homesteading in Alaska long before reality TV shows began making everyday living in Alaska filled with life-or-death situations.
I read about big-game hunters, and African safari’s, before I grew up and became a conservationist. Then I discovered the likes of Sir Edmund Hillary, Captain Robert Falcon Scott, and Roald Amundsen of South Pole fame, and being Canadian the explorations of Alexander Mackenzie, who crossed the North American continent ten years before Lewis and Clark.
And so the insatiable urge to put words together in order to tell the stories grew, until finally faced with the inevitable question so many of us face, “if not now, when?”
Has it been easy, no? I felt handicapped by the lack of a formal education, or much of any kind of education. When my father passed away I had just turned fourteen. The next year I answered an ad in the paper. An engineering firm in downtown Montreal was looking for an office boy. School was over, well, not quite.
A summer and a winter later my mother accepted an invitation from her brother to move a million miles away, to North Hollywood, California, where they informed me, I was too young to go to work, so it was back to school for a year.
The calendar kept turning, and I kept reading, and waiting for the right time, until the day came when I said, “enough is enough,” and I began to put the words on paper, at last.
Some of us will write memoirs of our lives and family.
Some will write of fabulous adventures they experienced.
Some will write the stories that have festered in their minds for years waiting to be released.
And some have yet to begin.
Do you see yourself in one of these categories?