What were the first stories you wanted to write? Were they dramatic adventures in strange lands? Was it fantasy, mystery, drama or comedy? Did you have villains and heroes? Did you write in the moment, infusing your words with your own life?
My first stories derived from the world around me. I remember carrying a small blue diary when I was a child; in that book, I wrote poems about the natural world, shaping stories around my environment. I remember sitting in the arms of my grandmother’s apple tree, writing about the images I saw in her own backyard. The natural elements awakened in my poetry, and eventually trickled their way into my stories. I wanted to create tales with sweeping plotlines that drowned my characters in dire circumstances, but I struggled with that route; instead, I discovered that stories emerged naturally from circumstances of my own life. I uncovered a subtle darkness in my writing, and I learned to embellish that facet, creating a rich tapestry of narratives and poetry that expressed both the beautiful and ugly aspects of my world.
I often look back on those early stories. They taught me how to connect with readers through writing about my own experiences. I exposed myself to the formula of crafting stories through the exploits of my own life and found my voice.