Everyone’s story starts with a beginning, similarly, each author has a unique path to writing their first book. This can greatly affect not only how they write but what they write. My path started very slowly, with most of the growth happening much later.
Unlike a few of the students I have worked with over the years, who by Grade 8 had written a novel, albeit a shorter chapter novel, I didn’t enjoy writing when I was younger. I failed almost every poetry unit in school and even had to retake Grade 9 English. There were some mitigating factors and it wasn’t as if I couldn’t write if I set my mind to it, but I will be honest and say I just didn’t want to.
This lack of interest in writing continued through High School and into College, but the need to pass changed. Out of that need I developed the skill I called shoveling. Shoveling is the ability to take a piece of writing and re-writing it into your own words, while also bloating it with extra but relevant words. I still remember taking a small quarter page article from an encyclopedia and turning it into a three page research paper for a College course. Your probably thinking, ‘That is crazy. There is no way he received a good mark for that paper…’ and you would be wrong. This was probably the first time I became truly, personally aware that I could write.
The realization that I could write did not change my feeling towards writing, but it did help my confidence and success. After a short while I left the education sphere, choosing instead to work. Almost ten years later the writing bug bit me. One wild and emotional fall evening, some words were said; I do not even remember what was said, only that it was something that my ex-wife had said previously in a violent, abusive manner. This ripped open old wounds I thought had healed over and in my pain I found release in writing poetry. By the time I was finished I had completed three poems that night. From that night on I have had even constant friend in poetry whenever the emotions ran high, positively or negatively.
What you wouldn’t know about is that I am a socially awkward introvert and I struggle most of the time understanding my own emotions, never mind anyone else’s. So to have an outlet like this was huge. I have written many poems over years, mostly emotionally driven, but in the last couple of years, as I have had time, I had started challenging myself to write poetry without the emotional stimulus. I have been very proud of my results, here is one of my favourites:
White silence falling,
Across the forest floor.
Low sounds of wind bawling,
Slides past my front door.
Need sends me out,
Admidst the swirling white.
Slowly, stealthily I flit about.,
Into the charcoal night.
Across the hill and halfway down,
Frozen beneath the big oak tree,
Thought perchance a flash of brown.
Deep breaths now one, two, three.
Hunger drives me on,
Across a wide, white blanket.
Few more hours until dawn,
With last night's hunt inadequate.
Above and out of sight,
A silent shadow creeps.
Loud shrieks fill the night,
My family quietly weeps.
More recently, I have felt the pull of full fledged writing. The first books I wrote were short children’s picture books. As mentioned in my bio, My wife and I have a young son and so was reading a lot of different picture books. One of those books of course was the classic Goodnight Moon. I enjoyed the style and flow of that book and thought to pay homage to such a classic, while tying in stories I enjoyed. The first I wrote was Goodnight Hobbiton, coming from my love of fantasy and particular books by J.R.R. Tolkien. Shortly after I added a second book called Goodnight Bethlehem, I am a Christian and I love the story of Jesus’ birth. I eventually wrote another book which is an ABC book, currently with no working title.
A few months later I had an inspirational evening where I wrote most of the first chapter of what will become my first novel, called Fortress Out Of Time. I have a story outline completed, but have struggled to keep momentum. I am not surprised by this as this will be the longest writing endeavor I have ever undertaken to this point in my life. I am hoping to complete in within a year, but have set a tentative release date to early 2022. With everything going on, having a young son, trying to get my children’s books out and working almost full-time, I expect to struggle to have time to write.
I am considering as well compiling the poetry I have that has strong imagery and hiring an illustrator to create images for a poetry book. There are a few other ideas ruminating in my mind. All in all, I am looking forward to see what the future holds.
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