Monday, July 27, 2009

The First Time I Tried Writing (And I'm Not Talking ABC's)

I don't remember if it was late Winter or early Spring, but I remember it being warm & sunny, one of those first kinds of days after what seemed like a long, cold Winter. It was a Sunday morning. I had just watched an episode on PBS of a British TV version of Little Women. Before this, I'd only known of the book, which I bought at one of the school book fairs. (6th grade and I still have it!) I so adored watching it and seeing my favorite parts of the story, especially Jo, come to life.

The day before, my new desk from the used furniture store had been delivered and was still sitting in the living room in front of the large window because Mom hadn't taken apart the old desk to throw out yet. I vaguely remember the desk being brown, but I'm unsure if that memory is correct, and that I was wearing something purple. A sweatshirt?

I sat down at the desk and stared out that window, which was open wide. There was a hint of flowers in the air, like there is when everything starts coming to life again after their long slumbers. Looking off to the right was the huge Cross on top of the St. James Church steeple, darkened & green with time and weather. I was always amazed it never got struck by lightning since it was the tallest thing in the immediate area. To my left I could see trees, backs of houses, driveways, an alley and the street beyond ours. Back then, Mom and I lived on the third floor of a World War II era Brownstone style building, long divided into separate apartments. This was also the "view" from my room as well.

Suddenly, I wanted to write. Well, more accurately, I wanted to be like Jo March and write stories. I got up and rummaged in my old desk for an extra composition notebook (you remember, those thick black & white marble notebooks?) and my favorite pen of that moment. (I've always had a thing for pens and notebooks). My Aunt Judy had given me the pen along with many other great stocking stuffers that Christmas. It had a purple heart for a cap, wrote in purple ink and the ink smelled like grapes! Not like grape bubble gum or cough medicine (bleah!), but like real grapes. (Guess I also had a thing for purple too!) I took my findings back to my new desk and sat down again.

I opened the comp book and stared down at the blank, lined pages. The I stared out the window again. Why could I possibly write?! Well, Jo wrote stories. I can write stories. I can write stories about Jo! And Meg, Beth & Amy!

I have no idea what I actually wrote that late sunny Sunday morning. I know I made up my own Little Women story and I know I took it into the kitchen where Mom had been much of this time. I don't remember her reaction. She's never been a big fan of my writing anything, so who knows? I amy have been about 10 years old. 11? I'm sure she replied with something along the lines of, "That's nice dear" and I went happily back to my new desk to write more.

From that moment I first learned of Little Women's Jo March, I wanted to be a writer. From the moment I sat down that day to create my own story, I was a writer.


Brenda said...

Funny, I remember always liking to write, and my grandmother and uncle bought me a typewriter for my 9th or 10th birthday. I don't remember, but I typed on it all the time.

My first "novel" I ever wrote was Footprints in the Sand. I was in the 7th grade, and it was a romance novel. I entertained my newly made friend, Barbara Gross, with excerpts.

I think I still have it somewhere.
It was a romance! Of course, it was.

Funny, how you remember these things, isn't it?

Lit and Life said...

Jo was my first inspiration to want to write, too!

Mandy said...

I remember when I first wanted to write too. It was probably around the same age. Only I wrote family newspapers. I wanted to be a journalist. I too always had a fascination with pens. (still do) I also always had pretty journals for writing. I wrote a lot when I was younger, unfortunately my Dad accidentally through out all of that trying to help me. He grabbed the wrong bag. =( Lost all my writings, yearbooks...everything.

Jo said...

Brenda, that's a wonderful memory!

Lisa, I wonder if Louisa May Alcott could ever have imagined how timeless and inspirational her Little Women would be?!

Mandy, I am so sorry! I don't have any of my journals prior to 2004 except 1, none of my year books and the only writings I have are college papers - during a nasty split from my ex-boyfriend, he stole/threw everything I'd ever had in my life up until that point in 2004 with few exceptions when I kicked his sorry butt to the curb. I know how that feels!

And I wanted to be a journalist too! I always tried to get a newspaper together in grammar school and was actually on the newspaper & year book in high school for senior year. I also loved Elizabeth from Sweet Valley High...

teri said...

Everything about Jo inspired me -- her courage, her imagination, her curiosity, her sense of adventure. I didn't just want to be like her. I wanted to BE her!

Jo said...

I did too Teri and I loved the world of Little Women as a whole, their close family, warm home with their own spaces. I nearly burst into tears during the tour of the Alcott home (Orchard House) in MA this past October! I have always loved people calling me Jo and she is part of the reason why!