I've been a story teller as far back as I can remember. My stories started, in the verbal tradition, as the on-going adventures of Mousey Mouse. These were epics I made up to entertain my little brother on those nights when I was baby-sitting/in charge and he would ask for a bed time story. The tales were full of romance, extreme danger, comedy and plenty of potty humor (HAD to have the potty humor). Imagine my surprise when decades later I saw a program called Oobi on Noggin. Oobi IS Mousey Mouse! I did the whole hand puppet action, complete with hats, bows, rings for crowns...what ever props were needed to tell that evening's adventure. Yep, it was a combo bed time story AND puppet show. I was so versatile.
Time marched on and my almost obsessive need to read, read, read every spare moment of every day seemed to progress naturally to writing my own stories. Where did my story ideas come from? I got many of my best story ideas from my dreams. I've always had really vivid and interesting dreams. I used to be quite skilled at lucid dreaming and even had serial dreams...where the story would pick up where it left off the night before and continue. I kept abbreviated versions of my dream stories in my diary until I had a chance to develop them into full blown short stories.
I also looked forward to being given term paper, story, poetry or other creative assignments in school. I could whip a term paper out of my butt in no time and always got A's, to the eternal frustration of my friends. I'll never forget one time I got on the bus and a friend asked if I had finished my report for Civics. I was supposed to write about a service or institution in my home town that employed volunteers and some how "bettered" the community as a whole. I had completely forgotten about the assignment. So I winged out my notebook and began writing. By the time the bus arrived at school I had a completed 3 page paper all about the local Veteran's Hospital. Much of what I wrote was based on comments myFather's cousin had made over the various family holidays (he was a Vietnam Vet) and the rest was based on my own imagination. My girlfriend told me there was no WAY I would get away with it. I got an A. *snicker*
I wish I had received more encouragement in my younger years to pursue my writing. If I had only known that there actually were teens who got books published, I might have gone for it. My father was a major damper to my creative leanings, however. If he didn't see a future in it (i.e. a good paycheck) he would threaten to withdraw his half of my college tuition. I had worked non-stop from 8th grade on and most of my earnings were placed in a savings account my Mom and I opened for the purpose of paying for college. They couldn't afford to pay for it all, so I had to pull my own weight. A lot of responsibility for a teen, in my opinion. I had hoped that once I started school I would be able to convince my parents to let me change my major to Art or English (for creative writing or journalism). No go. So I majored in Bio/Chem...thinking I would go into research one day. I knew that wasn't really the right fit for me and I soon tired of college and dropped out in favor of working full time. My choices did not make my parents happy, and I was forced to strike out on my own earlier than I had anticipated.
The pressures of living on my own for the first time, paying bills, making a living...all served to suck the creative life out of me. I wrote and painted less and less. When I got married, I also got the heck out of Dodge and made a new start in a new state. I had a new job and a great new benefit -- tuition reimbursement! I went back to school, this time majoring in what *I* wanted to major in. A dual major of fine arts and English. I took writing classes of all kinds, and art classes too. My muse was BACK! My creative writing professor invited me to publish some of my stories and poetry in the school's literary magazine. I was floored and very gratified! My husband and I had also decided to stop playing it safe and to allow nature to take it's course...we were hoping to have a baby. A sudden health crisis and near death experience with a lengthy physical recovery derailed my continuing education again. My writing and art were again set aside so I could focus on getting well and also work through the devastating news that the odds of having a child were very slim. Our only option was IVF. After almost 2 years of physical recovery I finally felt up to the challenges of IVF.
Since this posting is turning into another novella, I will fast forward to today. I have a beautiful baby boy and I've sparked my creative side again through my photography, graphics work and starting this journal! Looking back over my short stories from college, I do have some possibilities of things I could flesh out into novel length. But I am also tempted to write something more deeply personal. Perhaps something about our battles with infertility...or a fictionalized account based on the birth of my son and his ties to 9/11. I'm not sure. Or perhaps I will just start small and write some articles targeted to some of my favorite parenting magazines. Published is published, right? LOL Or maybe I will revisit some of those older stories and polish them up to submit them to Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine or one of my other favorite short story publications. The options are endless and overwhelming. Maybe participation in a writing support group will help me make some critical decisions. In the mean time I will sleep, perchance to dream, and find some fodder for my scribbling.
Wait...one last thought. So why do I write? Because I can't help myself. I must.