I'm spending March hard at work on a sequel to Gatekeeper. The new novel is half done. I had given it up a couple of years ago to finish one I had also half finished a long time ago. I love world building. The book is a contemporary fantasy, set in the real world, but I get to develop the rules for magic. I've invented deliciously evil creatures that resemble spiders—of which I'm terrified—but these are the size of dogs, with an occasional one as large as a horse.
That comparison with horses made me remember where this interest in storytelling all began.
In fifth and sixth grades I attended school in the tiny town of Ismay, Montana. There were 8 of us in fourth through eighth grades. My teacher was a caring and nurturing woman much ahead of her times. She encouraged each of us to follow our dreams. My dream was writing stories.
I hadn't yet read the Island Stallion series so I wasn't interested in being shipwrecked on a faraway island with only a horse for company. We were too far from civilization to have television. Aside from angleworm races with a friend and never-ending Monopoly games with said friend and my father (who brazenly cheated), I delved into my imagination and wrote stories.
One story became a saga about a girl growing up on a ranch and somehow finding the best wild horse in the world just wandering the prairie. It, of course, learned to love me, followed me home and became my best friend. We did something heroic. I can't remember what. Perhaps we rescued a lamb from a bear (I always had a soft spot for lambs). My teacher helped me turn the story into a little chapter book with a cover and table of contents and all. All hand made and illustrated by me. She helped me enter it in the State Fair. I won a blue ribbon. I still have the story and the ribbon somewhere.
My mother always told my brothers and I that we could do whatever we set our minds to. We may not achieve our dreams in quite the way we anticipate, but we'll have a wonderful time along life's highway.
Think about a time when you felt eager to write, when you felt a passion for telling stories--fiction, nonfiction or poetry--and just do it.
Maybe I'll never be a rich and famous author, but my stories are out there. And I'm having the time of my life building my worlds, be they real or fantasy.