Welcome to my list of firsts.
It was an interesting list of items. I hope you enjoy your stroll through my memory lane.
Q How do I remember my first kiss?
A My very first kiss was not the one you are envisioning, it was in third grade, behind a tree with lots of nosy classmates peering on, with a boy named Timmy. Timmy was not gross, but he was not the person I wanted to kiss, that was Doug, who loved to eat Crayola crayons, especially the grey ones. It was a quick chaste affair with Timmy quickly wiping his lips on his sleeve and me blushing profusely and running away. (As an adult it seems I have who was gross confused doesn't it?)
My real first kiss, the one where I anticipated and hoped and fretted, was awkward and sweet followed by sweaty hand holding in the movie theatre and an astounding sense of relief that our braces hadn't stuck together.
A My first favorite love song was 'Your Song' by Elton John, now Sir Elton John. The imagery in the song and the desires we all have to be our best and express ourselves the best we can made it a favorite. I had it on my Walkman for all the family trips in the station wagon.
Q What is the first thing I do when I begin writing for the day?
A Sadly, I don't get to begin writing until the day is practically over. I have a lovely bill paying full-time job, have to feed the family, assist with homework, clean the kitchen and then put the kids to bed. I then grab my laptop and begin work. Nothing fancy, no music, just a nice quiet spot and my laptop.
Q Who was the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer?
A This is the biggie for all of us and I really cannot point to one person. I read the scene in Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh, where Harriet was trying to be an onion for the school play and identified so intensely with Harriet and could picture it so perfectly (I was actually upset the book had drawings of it because it was so clear in my mind.) that it is still ingrained in my mind today, many, many, years later. That is a testament to the connection I felt. She was the first female lead character that I could relate to. All writers have a special relationship with notebooks just as Harriet did, right?
As soon as I finished 'Harriet the Spy' my best friend Jenny returned home from visiting family in Germany and brought with her a hardback book in a very plain red woven cover. The plain cover masked the amazing, incredible work within. I had never before seen a book printed in colored ink. I had never before seen such intricate designs for the first letter of the chapter, but wait there was text in another color! The book was written in green and red ink and each chapter started with the letters of the alphabet in order with a beautifully drawn picture that gave you a clue to the wonders that the chapter held. I have not seen this book, 'The Never Ending Story', by Michale Ende, since 1980 but I can recall it as vividly as if I was holding it now. It was also a wonderful journey with imagination and a made up land, which was the first I had encountered. The sheer imagination and care that went into making the book was elevated far above anything I had ever seen. Aside from the Griffin and Sabine books one I have not seen again. [Footnote- I feel compelled to say do not judge the book by the horrid movie they made of it. The book was, as almost always so much better.]
Q Did the final revision of my first book have the same first chapter it started with?
A No, the current revision of my first manuscript has a different chapter than I started with and with further editing that may change again.
Q For my first book, which came first: major characters, plot or setting?
A Plot came first.
Q What's the first word I want to roll off the tip of someone's tongue when they think of my writing?
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