When I was three or four my Granny O. had these three small, fat books. They were my favorites and I learned to read using those books. I’ll admit today when I go visit her I always fondly recall those books. Even though she doesn’t live in the same home as when I stayed with her I still go to her house and can’t help but look around the place and I am swept back into time. A time where she would give me flashcards with letters and I would have to put them together to form words. A time where a myriad of Disney Comic books and others drew me into a world of make-believe where princesses could slay the dragons, youth had power and could save the world by believing, and magic closets and lions were something to seek and fall in love with.
She instilled in me a passion for reading and writing. She introduced me to many fantastic voyages. She proved to me that while television and movies were fun diving into a book created many more opportunities and there was no limit to where I could go, who I could meet, and what I could do. While my mother would show me books like Good Night Moon and I loved those special moments of her reading to me, it was my Granny O. who gave me the book Fievel, An American Tale. I loved that movie but seeing the story in words, along with the pictures, it was amazing. I learned that those movies I loved were only a bunch of words and some colorful pictures.
It may sound silly to you, the reader, but for me, that was a pivotal moment of change for me. I was forever altered, never to be the same girl. From that moment I was a writer. I wrote stories. I was only six and seven so my experiences weren’t wide and far but I still ‘wrote what I knew’. I merged characters like Curious George and Shirley Temple and gave them adventures. In fifth and sixth grade I was fascinated with the emergence of AIDS. TV commercials offered advice and info (just call this 800 number!) and learned as much as I could by getting brochures and pamphlets. In sixth grade I wrote a novella (though I would hear that term for years to come) and I won a Young Author’s Award for my story about a young girl whose brother had contacted AIDS and if she didn’t change her life she would likely end up the same. Continue reading