I was reminded this morning in running across the television adaptations of ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Animorphs’ on Netflix of the first time I ever had the inspiration to write fiction of any sort. It was during the mid to late nineties, the hayday of the Scholastic book club, when R.L. Stein and K.A. Applegate were turning out book after book, always leaving us kids wanting more. The stories were always so exciting, and when the shipments would get to our classrooms it took every ounce of willpower I had to not jump the teacher, grab my books, and book it (pun intended) to the nearest tree to sit in the shade and read.
Up until I was about eight years old, the ideas I’d had for stories were without any structure, never going in any particular direction, then one day I sat down at my father’s computer and was determined to write something of my own that had a beginning, middle, and end. As much as I’d love to say that what I had in mind was original, and the next great American novel, it was nothing more than a child’s attempt at emulating the writing style of the authors I liked to read, which was as good a place to start as any I suppose.
What was the story about? A kid, about my age at the time, wakes up to find that he had been turned into an all-too-generic green monster while he was asleep (the kid suspected the brand new face wash their mother had brought home), afraid of what his parents would think, he calls (somehow, since monster hands tend to be huge and clunky this makes no sense to me now, but hey, I was eight) his best friend and asks if they can meet him under the local baseball diamond bleachers, no questions asked. The kids got into some antics trying to figure out how to cure the protagonist of their affliction, so on and so forth, pretty much the R.L. Stein formula to the letter, hell, it may have even been my own spin on one of his stories for all that I remember, but I also remember that being the first time I realized how much I enjoyed writing.
Fast forward two years and I had decided that I wanted to be a musician, it wasn’t until about four years ago, after roughly fifteen years of just songwriting (if you followed that convoluted timeline, bravo!), I realized how much I missed writing outside of music. It makes me wonder what I could have written by now if I hadn’t made songwriting my only focus.
Do any of you remember the first story you ever sat down to write? If so, feel free to share.