If my mother were still on earth, she would be celebrating her 117th birthday on October 1st.
She was the first person to read to me. She not only showed me the pictures, she also showed me how those letters on the page came together to make words. She showed me how those words came together to make sentences, paragraphs and whole chapters and books.
And then she showed me how I could make those letters. She showed me how to combine those letters into words, sentences, paragraphs and more.
More than that, both of my parents gave me two other important gifts.
They and my relatives were great story tellers. They remembered their childhoods, youth, young adult life and more.
Through their stories I got to know grandparents and great grandparents I had never met. I got transported back through time and walked where they walked.
My parents also gave me the gift of imagination. My father wondered about things out loud. If I did not know the answer to his very random wondering, he would laugh and say, “Don’t you have any curiosity?”
My mother would read me stories, but stop in the middle. When I would beg her to keep reading, she would say, “What do you think happened next? You finish the story.”
When I would imagine the most outrageous things, she would laugh and try to top it. We passed many a summer afternoon lost in the joy of imagination.
When I was in high school, my best friend and I would write partial stories and then pass them to each other under the desk for the other one to write some more on the story before passing it back.
I loved being in drama class. In real life, I was the shy, studious kid. But through acting, I was freed to express myself in many different ways.
Not only that, I found I could bring out emotions in others. They would smile, laugh and sometimes cry in response to my character.
And so it came to be that God brought all those times of preparation together. I wrote a play. My drama teacher was so impressed she entered it in the state literary competition.
My classmates performed it at the state festival. I sat in that darkened theater in wonder as what had begun in my mind came to life. It won the top award for the state!
Even today when I am enjoying a good movie or tv show, I remember it is the writers who really birthed it.
Stay tuned for my next post on where writing led me. It involves Jay, a bet, and almost getting fired because The National Enquirer took an interest in what I wrote! 😱