Jessie: Feeling pensive.
Recently, I attended the New England Crime Bake. Every time I am in the midst of a group of writers it, not surprisingly, makes me think about what started it all in the first place. I’m not sure if all writers can pinpoint when they decided that writing was something they wished to pursue but I know exactly when I realised that I wanted to create stories to share with others.
When I was six years old I needed an emergency appendectomy. It was touch and go for a while as the toxins had spread round my system a bit. The surgeon told my parents it would be at least five days before they’d be sure I would survive. My mother was worried enough about the outcome that she slept in the hospital with me every night. She always read to me at bedtime at home and the hospital stay was no exception.
I had received a boxed set of Roald Dahl books for Christmas only a few weeks before but had not yet started to read them. My mother brought Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the hospital and began to reading it to me. My mother is a delightful reader and snuggled up in a hopstical bed under a flickering, humming fluorescent light I was able to imagine myself swept away to a much more magical place. I was enchanted by the story and tickled pink by the humor.
By the time Violet Beauregarde was rolled off to the juicing room I laughed so hard I had ripped out most of my surgical staples. But somehow, it was worth it. Laughter really was the best medicine. By the fifth day I left the hospital, well on my way to a full recovery. I am convinced that the book and the pleasure it brought, the feeling it created that life was indeed magical, full of possibilities and not worth giving up helped move me out of the danger zone.
My health recovered but I never got over my attachment to Roald Dahl. Or books with humor and magic and well-deserved comeuppances. I knew from that point on that what I really wanted to do was to write stories of my own.
Readers, do you have a book that helped you through a difficult period? Writers, can you pinpoint when you decided on your life’s passion?