In our apartment, the dining room was my father’s office. In it was a big black desk anchored like a ship in a small ocean of papers and books. My dad was a writer back then and that was where he worked. I didn’t know what working was exactly, but I knew it was big and important, because when daddy did it, we had to be quiet. I didn’t know what writing was either, but I knew that it was something special because daddy spent a lot of time doing it, hour and hour, day after day.
At three or so, I was just tall enough to peek over the edge of my dad’s desk and survey its exotic treasures: Pens! Pencils! Paperclips! Pudgy pink erasers! Pads of yellow paper! Writing had to be fun, that much I knew. Because when you were doing it, you could be very messy and no one gave you a hard time about it. In fact, the messier you were, the more you were working.
One day, as I was playing on the floor of my father’s office, a miracle occurred. He handed me one of his beautiful, brand-new yellow pads – the golden fleece, it seemed to me – and a shiny yellow pencil with its very own pink eraser on top. “I want you to write a letter to my editor Mrs. Pumpernickel. Tell her I need more money!” my father said.
No matter that I didn’t know the alphabet or how to read. No matter that I didn’t know what an editor was or what money was – or where to find Mrs. Pumpernickel. I was writing! I took my shiny pencil in hand and set to work, covering page after page of my legal pad with bold, confident squiggles. When I finished my letter, I handed the pad to my father. He looked over my chicken scratches carefully, nodding as if he understood every word perfectly. I couldn’t have been prouder if I’d won the Pulitzer! Then he fished around in a desk drawer and drew out a gleaming white envelope. “We need to mail this right away,” my dad said. What a thrill! I was hooked and I’ve been writing ever since.
How about you — what’s your story?