Thursday, December 21, 2006

I have always loved stories and writing.

My mom tells me about times she'd take me to the grocery store. I'd entertain myself while we shopped by picking up the cans and food items and making them talk to each other, weaving a story out of green beans and corn.

She's saved many things I wrote as a child- books I wrote (usually on one of my dad's yellow legal pads), sometimes finished with illustrations, sometimes leaving space for illustration later, and sometimes not quite finished. A few of the books were saved after I entered them in Young Authors conferences or similar programs.

Writing was always something that came easily to me, and I enjoyed, and I know it was very closely related to my love for reading. One time, in second grade, I got to pick a prize from the teacher's stash for some reason, and I picked out Into The Land of the Unicorns. In the front of the book, my teacher wrote something to the effect of "Great job. I look forward to reading one of your novels someday!" Obviously, her belief in me was something that stuck with me. Maybe I have a little talent, but honestly, I consider any writing skill I have to be the product of tons of reading. I'm proud of my writing, but I don't think I really have the passion or drive to pursue writing as a career. A part of me wishes I did; I do enjoy writing, and I respect talented writers a lot. Plus, I'm a little jealous of people who have a strong 'calling.' I've had so much indecision in my career choice- and still do, to some extent- that I can't help but envy people who know what they want and are meant to do for the rest of their life.

Anyway, one of the books I read for my Media for Children class this past semester was Kate DiCamillo's The Tiger Rising. Although many people in my class didn't like it much, I really enjoyed this book- perhaps because I could relate to it in some ways. After reading the book, I read the author's page in the back of the book. Kate DiCamillo (also the author of Because of Winn-Dixie) wrote about her motivation for writing the story, and I realized that this was what was missing from my writing. This is what I'm jealous of.

Kate DiCamillo says of THE TIGER RISING, "Rob Horton first showed up in a short story I was writing. I finished the story, but apparently Rob wasn’t finished with me. He hung around for weeks afterward, haunting the other stories I was working on. Finally, I said to him, ‘What in the world do you want?’ And he said, ‘I know where there’s a tiger.’ Like Sistine, I said one word back to him, ‘Where?’ THE TIGER RISING is how Rob Horton answered me."

I surely couldn't pin down the feeling in a word or phrase, but ... I want that. I want to be such a great writer that my characters become real, even to me.

I guess I'm not really sure why I wanted to blog about this; I guess I just really liked the quote. I feel like that's the way writing- at least fiction- should be.

No comments: