THE BIRTH OF A WRITER (January 7, 2019)
My earliest memories of being interested in writing go back to the fourth grade. My father had a home office with an old manual typewriter acting as the centerpiece on a large, gray metal desk. It was a particular thrill to insert a clean sheet of 8-1/2 x 11 typing paper into that machine, attempt to align the top edge where my first keystroke would land, and manually set the tab and margin stops. The anticipation of what was going to roll off my fingertips in the next few minutes was almost too much for a nine year old to handle.
Several hours later, with the wastebasket half full of crumpled “do-overs” and ink-stained fingers from untangling repeated key jams, I might be lucky enough to have one lone page of my new masterpiece. Neither the smudge marks due to the unavailability of correction tape or White-Out, nor the fact that the A’s and S’s never seemed to align with the other family members, failed to dampen my spirits. The excitement of yanking the completed paper out of that magnificent machine was almost as great an emotion as the one at the beginning. Then it was off to force either parent (whichever had the misfortune of being closest to me at the time) to sit and listen with feigned interest and forced enthusiasm as I breathlessly read them the first page of my story.
Somewhere in that creative writing process I usually lost interest in the project, either adding a quick ending after one or two pages and calling it quits, or never completing my great novel at all. But given enough time, I was always drawn back to that magical machine which contained, within it’s maze of keys, bars, springs, and spools of black ribbon, the next incredible adventure just waiting for someone like me to come along and set it free.
And now, some fifty-two years later, it finally happened. With the aid of computers and keyboards, I have not only saved an entire forest from annihilation, I have finished my first book! A Future and a Hope is a 376-page young adult Christian fiction novel about a young man who discovers that when life takes sudden and unexpected turns, practicing what you preach is not always easy. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I don’t know if my dad’s old typewriter is still around. It was probably sent to the scrap yard years ago, to be melted down and resurrected as a steel tire rim or a metal floor lamp or some such thing. But if it were still here, I’m pretty sure it would be proud of me for finally finishing what I started.