This week, as the build-up to Valentine’s Day saturates the world with candy hearts and long-stemmed roses, I thought it might be fun to think about how we found our love for writing. I became a writer at this little school pictured on the left–The Caedmon School in New York City–and this is how it happened.
I was in first grade. It was library time and I had slipped away from the picture book area to the section with floor-to-ceiling shelves that housed the “big kid books.” I pulled a book from the shelf (I believe it was Lloyd Alexander’s The Black Cauldron) and stumbled my way through the first sentence or two. Sliding the book back into place, it occurred to me: I could read this book. I looked around the room and thought: I could read all of these books. (OK, with some of them I might have needed some help sounding out the words, but still.)
That’s when panic struck. If I read all the books in the school library, there would be no books left to read and I’d be bored forever. You must understand, while the library was rather small–nothing more than a large room with bookshelves–to me it was gigantic. I thought the books in the school library were all the books in the world.
Back in the first grade classroom, our teacher Miss H must have noticed that I was out of sorts because she asked me what was wrong. I told her.
The next day, Miss H introduced a new activity for the classroom. It was nothing more than a metal canister full of sharpened pencils and two plastic paper trays–one filled with blank lined paper, the other empty. Miss H explained that we were to write stories on the blank paper and draw pictures for a cover, then place them in the empty tray. Each day she would staple the pages together to make a book (a real book!) and she would read them to the class at story time.
Immediately my fears from the day before subsided. Whenever I ran out of books to read, I could just write my own. And then I could read them. I would never be bored again! (Ah, the beauty of a first-grader’s logic.)
And this, my friends, is how I became a writer. I fell in love with writing because I loved reading, first and foremost. It was my love of literature, of getting lost in a story that pushed me to start writing in the first place. I suppose it’s true what they say that all writers must be readers. In my case, I was a reader first, and the writing came later.
How did you become a writer?
Was there one particular incident, person or place that helped spark your writing? Please share your story in the comments!