My love of writing started with an early love of reading. I was never shy to curl up with a book. In the early days, Dr. Seuss dominated my reading list. I remember my third grade teacher showing me a shelf in the school library filled with tall tales, and I quickly plowed through them all. In fourth grade I discovered Judy Blume and she became a staple in later years, along with the likes of Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien, Beverly Cleary, John D. Fitzgerald (The Great Brain books), and the guy who wrote Encyclopedia Brown books. I would even grab actual encyclopedia volumes and read things at random, because I am, and have always been, a nerd. (NOTE TO MY WIFE: Sorry to have to reveal this to you now, after nearly thirteen years of marriage. Love you!)
Around fifth or sixth grade, my mom took me to my dad’s new office for a surprise visit, but he wasn’t there at the time. It was a nice office, closer to the house than his old one, but being new his digs were not yet fully furnished. I left him a note saying we had stopped by and complimenting him on the lack of chairs, saying something along the lines of “Are you going to play Santa Claus and have people sit on your lap?”
Around that time, one of my friends was taking drawing lessons, and I was interested in them, too. I asked my mom if I could sign up. One day I overheard her phone the phone with someone saying, “Ricky has been asking me to put him in art lessons, but it’s his writing I’m impressed with…” I found that interesting because I had never given writing a second thought. Actually, I'm not sure I even gave it a first thought. But then...
In seventh grade I took to writing short stories. They were usually horror stories, written in an attempt to gross out my friends. (NOTE: They did.) When I was a sophomore in high school I bought an electric bass. My brother Dave gave me his guitar, and after that my writing took the form of song lyrics. Eventually I ended up with a job that involved copious amounts of writing (business proposals, marketing copy) and when I got married and had my first child I discovered that I could be a smart-ass in a blog. That was truly a defining moment.
Things took a more serious turn around 2002, when my wife and I had rented a cabin for a weekend getaway. We were walking through the woods when I went out on a limb and told her I was thinking about writing a novel. I told her the premise, and expecting laughter and a plea for stability in my day job, she surprised me by enthusiastically encouraging me to go for it. When we got back to the cabin, I sat down with the guest book (a blank notebook on the coffee table) and jotted down a two-page summary for what would be my first novel. When we returned home I started the manuscript proper.
And that’s where this story of the origins of my writing ends, mainly because I’ve already posted about my path to publication and I’m too lazy to rehash it.
But before I sign off for today, I would like to point out that, speaking of origins, my first published novel is an origins story in its own right. If you haven’t read “The Man in the Cinder Clouds” please buy a copy and get cracking! If you have read it, please recommend it to someone…Every voice counts.