Family Trees

Becoming an Author: Love and Magic

How does one become a writer? Is it a talent that you’re born with? Or does it spring from reading so many books that one learns how words should sound, and starts to write them down? Which is more important, knowledge or imagination? How much does your environment or your family history affect you?

In my case, I believe that I became an author because of my Mom and Dad.

Mom read to all of us from a very early age. She was a teacher, and she thought that it would give us a head start in school. She was right. Well, about English, anyway. Apparently there was no aptitude for math in the family tree!

We had a library of Golden Books, Dr. Seuss, Tinker and Tanker, and countless others. Mom had a real talent for making the stories come alive. She sparked a love of books and learning still burning in us today.

My Dad had quite an imagination. He had a knack for making things seem mysterious and exciting. Every visit to a park with him was an adventure. The Seneca were early settlers in our area, and my Dad was always finding “evidence” of them. If we saw a log submerged in a river, it was part of an ancient village that had sunk like Atlantis. If we found a stone that in any way remotely resembled an arrowhead, well, it was an arrowhead all right. And best of all, the Seneca were very careless with their money. We invariably discovered their coins lying just off the path. It never occurred to us that the Seneca did not mint dimes with Franklin Roosevelt on them. Perhaps we were especially gullible children, but my Dad wove a powerful spell.   

And speaking of spells…my Dad’s Irish heritage came into play too. My Great-Grandmother had a rival for the affections of a man. Unfortunately, this competitor was a witch or “fiend” as they called her. She conjured up a lizard underneath my Great-Grandmother’s skin. Everyone watched, horrified, as it wriggled up her arm and then disappeared. But my Great-Grandmother still got her man. And that eventually led to me!

We were also lucky enough to have a leprechaun living in our back yard. His name was Lenny and he liked to sit on our fence. Only my Dad could see him, more’s the pity, but he was there!

When we children did not want to eat our vegetables, Dad scared us with a sobering cautionary tale. It seems that he met a man on the street who could barely see, walked with a limp, and was bald. Dad asked him what had happened, and the poor fellow replied, “I never ate any vegetables!” We all took extra helpings that night to avoid his horrible fate!

The combination of gathering knowledge and the magic of story-telling has made me into a person who just had to be a writer! Did your family inspire you?

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