This story starts with books. And I do not doubt it will end with books (reading, not writing them).
I love to read. More than I love any other thing. Books are my best friends. I draw my energy from getting lost in a good story. I always say that I have the blog to thank for every dime I've made the past few years, but without my love of reading, I wouldn't even have a blog.
Because let's be honest: loving to read led to loving to write and if I hadn't started writing, my "small business story" would hardly be a haiku: "Didn't like to write. Never started a blog, so - yes, there was nothing."
I have dozens of memories of reading and writing growing up but two that jump out as worth sharing.
The first are the Baby-Sitter's Club books. They (along with the Boxcar Children books) formed my childhood and I read every single one (plus the Super Specials which I loved plus the mysteries which I hated) at least three times. I learned early on that I could skip chapter two when Ann M. Martin rehashed what the BBC was and how Kristy was bossy, Stacey had diabetes, Claudia wore big earrings, Mary Anne was shy and Dawn came from California. I don't remember realizing they followed a formula but I do remember having my mom read the diary entries the girls wrote because I couldn't yet read cursive.
I was six.
The second is not an actual recall, but something I have seen on our VHS home movies. I'm in our house in Santa Rosa reading outloud the "story" I had just written in huge scrawl on a spiral notebook of recycled paper. It's called "Boo!" and it's a shocking and intriguing tale of a Halloween party turned surprise birthday bash for a pet puppy. (How that didn't make the NY Times Bestseller list, I'll never know.)
I was seven.
Books were the staple of my early elementary years. Years later, though, writing assignments became my favorite. I remember learning how to write a three-prong thesis my freshman year of high school. I remember five paragraph essays and solid introductory sentences. I remember over the next three years of high school, "writing" became more complex - "make your thesis without stating your examples" "vary your sentence lengths" "include more than five paragraphs" "never say 'I think' because it's a given that whatever you write is what 'you think'."
I soaked it up. Every English class. Every lesson. Every correction scribbled in red pen. Writing was the key, I realized. Who cared what you thought or knew? If you couldn't communicate it in some way, did it matter?
I never considered being a professional writer or professional reader. Both of those activities felt like hobbies and tools to get things done more than an actual career. I applied to six different colleges (Cal, UCLA, UCSD, Pepperdine, Cal Poly and USC) my senior year and my objective was obvious. It was the boldest thing I could state on my applications: I was a business major, through and through. I wanted to work in a tall building and wear a suit.
It wasn't until spring of my Senior year of high school, after I had received my three denial letters and three acceptance packages (and had properly mourned and celebrated them respectively) that I realized I had another passion in addition to reading and writing.
I really loved making stuff to sell.
to be continued... click here to read part two.
and if you missed it, here's why I decided to tell my story.