According to my mother, I was born with the gift of storytelling. I come from a big family, and for the most part, was the middle child. We were eight siblings, with 23 years between the eldest (twins) and the youngest. By the time I was five the twins were married, and my eldest brother had been drafted. That left two brothers ahead of me, and a younger sister and brother behind me. Hence, I was the middle child in an even number.
Being the middle child of a rambunctious lot meant most times I was either talked over or told to shut up, if not ignored. Except on those occasions when I told a story. Those were the times I felt heard.
Life can be hard and often I would hide in the pages of a book or escape into my imagination with my own stories. Writing them down didn't happen until the third grade when Mrs. Papkey gave us our first writing assignment. At first, she thought I had help with it. I told her just with the spelling of some words, but I'm not sure she believed me, because she wanted me to write another story. With Halloween coming up she thought that would be a good topic, so I stayed in at recess to write it. For the first time in my life, a grownup apologized for having doubted me.
This heralded two important (for me) events; Mrs. Papkey gave our school paper my Halloween story to run, and our local paper also picked it up to run in their Halloween edition, right next to the announcement for the Jaycees haunted house and corn maze! For eight-year-old me, this was right up there with winning the Nobel Prize (even though I had no clue what that was at the time).
Throughout school and beyond I was known for my writings locally - although more for my poetry than stories. Over the years this accumulated into many articles, inclusions in magazines and anthologies, as well as several awards. People kept telling me I should write a book. And I wanted to but...
Sometimes life, for no reason other than it can, will whip a grenade at you blowing all your plans to smithereens. My life was no exception. All there is to do is pick up the pieces and try to move forwards. However, a writer never stops writing. Even if you never set the words down, the stories spin themselves in your mind sometimes leaking out into your dreams or out your mouth when it's time. Today, for many, it's through their keyboards onto the internet via a blog, or self-publishing.
Much of my self-expression is through my virtual haunted house Trespauze Manor (give it a Google if you're up for a little fright). It was there Jack LaFountain found some of my short stories and encouraged me to submit them. Hopefully, soon Volume 2 will follow because it seems to be the time.