Like all good superheroes, I have an origin story. No, I was not pricked with a radioactive pencil and suddenly got amazing writer powers. Nor was I born on an alien planet where everyone has editorial superpowers. Nope, I decided to become a writer in a very mundane location: a third grade classroom.
It all began with My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett.* We read this book in my third grade class, and we were assigned a project: we had to write our own short story about a dragon. I remember being really excited about the assignment; I always loved writing. One of my latest endeavors was a retelling of “Sleeping Beauty” with sheep (yes, my love of retellings started at a very young age). I don’t remember much about my “Sleeping Sheep” story, but I do remember that the moral of the story was: “Always make sure there is enough gas in the car.” I am not sure how it was relevant, but it is good advice, especially from a seven-year-old.
Before I sat down to write that short story, I always wanted to be a cheerleader. This fact is embarrassing to me, especially since I turned out to be the geeky kid who had absolutely no athletic prowess. I was really committed to the pom-pom cause; I dressed up as a cheerleader for Halloween and made paper cutouts of myself as a cheerleader. I never participated in cheerleading activities, so I have no idea how I got this idea in my head. I spent way more time reading than dancing.
I am always grateful to Ruth Stiles Gannett and my third grade teacher for saving me from more embarrassing Halloween photos of me as a cheerleader. As soon as I started writing the dragon story, I was happy. I remember thinking, “This is so much fun. I wish I could do this when I grow up.” Then it hit me: I could. The rest is history.
From that moment on, every year for Halloween I was a literary character (i.e. Helen of Troy, Alice in Wonderland, and Amy from Little Women).
How about you? When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Tell me in the comments!
*Note: If you choose to purchase through this link, I do get a small portion of the sale. But I obviously love this book on its own. It did give me superpowers.