“What do you mean you just started writing four years ago! You have two books published and you’re eighty-three years old. You must have started writing a long time ago. Come on, don’t try to kid me!”
My friend stood with hands on her hips, challenging me as I poured lemonade. “Come on,” I said. “Let’s go sit on the front porch.” We settled ourselves, two women in the second half of their lives. “I’ll tell you what happened.” I took a sip. “In 2007, I bought a new stack of file drawers and was sorting out papers. I ran across a box of short stories I’d written over the last twenty years, and, well, you know how this sort of thing works. I sat and read them. Took all afternoon. At the end of the day, I chose about 40 of them and lay them out on the bed in more or less chronological order.”
My friend nodded and rolled her hand to encourage more.
“I decided I’d clean them up a bit, add a few more stories and have them made into a book for my families for Christmas. I asked around and found a publisher, paid them big bucks, and voila, fifty books arrived on this very porch. I gave thirty-five to relatives, kept one for myself, and gave copies to anyone who would contribute $20 to my favorite charity. I kept one for myself and thought that was the end.
“But then a friend said she wanted one to give to her mother to encourage her to write stories. Another friend said, ‘I want to give a copy to each of my children.’ I asked her how many children she had, and when she answered, “Eight,” I decided to have 200 more copies printed. The publisher put TELL ME A STORY on Amazon. From stocking stuffer to Amazon in a single bound.”
That was the beginning. And I’m still at it. It’s too much fun to stop now.
How did YOU start writing? What was your inspiration?