As I continue to find and refine my writer's path, I've decided to try out the DIY MFA Book Club, seeking out new inspiration and new friends and colleagues. The first prompt asks: How did you become a writer?
Or, as I prefer to think of it, whose fault is this?
It might be my mother's fault. After all, she was the one who introduced me to books and stories, who took me to the library once a week and read me my favorite books over and over again, until I knew them by heart. Her love of reading was contagious.
Then again it might be Mrs. Alsdorf's fault. She was my first grade teacher. As a handwriting exercise, she had all us six year olds copy out classic poems by Wordsworth, Frost, Dickinson, Shakespeare, etc. I loved the words, fell dreamily into the sounds and images and illustrated the margins with elaborate drawings. Kneeling down to admire my work (it wasn't far for her: she was only five foot tall), she whispered into my ear, "You know, if you want to, you could write your own poems."
Then again, it might be Emily Dickinson's fault. She wrote such wonderful quirky poems that seemed to speak my very heart back to me, and made me write to write my own to answer her.
Or it could have been Jo March, or her creator Louisa May Alcott, portraying writing as something a smart bookish girl could do for adventure.
Writing was something in the heart of me from the very beginning. I was lucky in that I figured out what scratched that itch early on. When I need to write, it's very much like an itch. It's a discomfort, a restlessness, a twitch that leaves my brain aflame until I can quench the fire with the balm of story.