My writing journey began at the age of four. My brother and sister had already started their school careers but being the youngest, I was stuck at home, resentful that I wasn’t old enough to join their ranks.
My mother was the fastest typist I had ever seen in all my four years. One day, fully mesmerized by my mother’s rapid-fire key pushing, I asked if I could try it out because I had nothing to do but had something to say. I lacked the prose skills to attack such an endeavor but truth be told, I was more interested in pounding on the keys than I was in making any sense. Two pages and numerous typewriter ribbon and key jams later, I completed my first manuscript.
In those days, my entire family sat at the dinner table to consume the evening repast. This was an opportunity for each of us to share what transpired during our day. With much frustration and boredom, I waited for my siblings to finish relaying the drivel of their scholastic school days so that I could read the magnum opus that I managed to produce in one sitting at the typewriter. Mom sat next to me, and looking over my shoulder said, “Irene, it’s your turn. I see you have lots written on those pages so you better get started.”
So I did. I launched into a magnificent story – the gist of which I fail to remember decades later – but I delivered this story with great conviction and a feeling of growing self-importance. My mother silently read along with me, nodding her head as I read each paragraph, encouraging me with a smile now and then. A good ten minutes later I reached the end of my manuscript and with great flourish, I folded the pages in half and placed them on my lap. Mom and Dad were impressed; my big brother and sister dubious; I was in heaven.
Here’s a brief example of what my first manuscript looked like:
ashepigu a;lskhg iwyhasi8tq cmiuqtgpigub 1tpdp
For ten minutes and two pages I read typed gibberish with bravado and my mother never gave away my secret. She didn’t out me. I am certain that Mom’s encouragement and acceptance of my efforts contributed to my infatuation with all things reading and writing.
For the past four years I’ve been in the ranks of writers who submit, get rejected, and submit again. I’ve written two novels, the first of which I queried (seeking literary agency representation) for a year – thus far with no success – and the second of which I’ve just started querying.
I can’t foresee the future, but I do see my mother looking over an agent’s shoulder, nodding and accepting every word I’ve written.
All gibberish aside, I can’t lose with her ongoing support.