Sunday, April 18, 2010

What Inspired Me

There were two things that inspired me to become a writer, way back when I was a pre-grown up. Today I will tell you about one of them.

In eighth grade, I made a friend named Shelley. We're still friends, at least on Facebook, although she spells her name Schiele now. Whatever. Anyway...

I was invited to her 13th birthday party along with 8 or 9 other people from my junior high school. Everybody brought gifts, of course. I don't remember what I got for Shelley, but I do remember what Ted brought. It was five or six of his mom's books, signed.

I had no idea Ted's mom was a writer. I thought of writers as magical people who didn't really exist in real life, and certainly didn't have kids or families or anything that normal people have. The books were all Silhouette romances, about half an inch thick. I quizzed Ted about his mom. How could she have written so many books? He said that was nothing, she wrote all the time. If he got up in the middle of the night, he'd wander downstairs and find her pounding away on her typewriter at the kitchen table. He had 3 siblings, so I guess she took care of the kids all day and did her writing at night. (Sounds very familiar, now that I'm a mommy.)

And I got the idea that, hey, if she could do it, why couldn't I? "Writer" must be an achievable profession if one of my friend's mothers could do it, right?

So Ted and I drifted apart as friends, as many people do when they move from junior high to high school. But his name has always lingered in my mind, because that party in junior high was when that mystical being known as "author" became a real person for me, and in turn, became an attainable goal.

I certainly haven't forgotten his mother's name. She continued to write like crazy, and now I can't shop in Walmart without tripping over 3 or 4 of her books. Ted's mom's name is Debbie Macomber.


  1. Interesting. I decided I wanted to become a writer when I read The Cruel Sea in 9th grade. We all wind up here in the nuthouse in different ways, I guess.

  2. That's way cool. I love that you saw Debbie Macomber from another perspective. Great story.

    I don't know when I wanted to be a writer. I suppose I didn't ever believe I could until a few years ago. Confidence issues.

  3. Sierra, I'm with you on the confidence issues. I wrote my first novel when I was 14, shortly after the party in my story. I didn't write my next one until I was 35. I love your blog, you've definitely got the talent, I'm glad you've overcome the confidence hurdle.

    My other inspiration was Gordon Korman, who wrote his first book as a seventh grade English project. I seriously wonder who actually got it published though. Did he do the agent search as a 12 year old? God forbid.

  4. I remember finding out who Ted's mom was, and that she was signing books at the bookstore. I was so amazed that she was from our little town. When I mentioned it to my mom she nonchalantly announced she went to school with her. I remember that same kind of realization I had in kindergarten when I realized my teacher didn't live at school. Somehow I always envisioned writers as these mysterious people who lived in secluded woodland cabins not moms in minivans.