Where It All Began- The Start of My Writing Journey

Since The Soul Mender launched at the end of May I’ve been getting the question, “When did you start writing?”

Hmmm.

Thinking back, I’ve been creating stories and poetry since second grade. I have a vivid memory of writing and illustrating a bunch of books during that time period, but I hadn’t seen any of them in years. Luckily, a couple of months ago my mom found a few, including my prized hardcover copy of The Crystal. While it wasn’t my first story, it still sort of gives a timeframe of when my writing journey began (Predated by Googaly-Goo, The Ocean, and The Desert, all still missing).

I was eight years old when I wrote and illustrated The Crystal and for this blog I’d love to share with ya’ll where my first inspiration to be an author came from. The writing is poor, the use of clichés sickening and the ending definitely leaves something to be desired. (Maybe it’s good for an eight-year-old? I’d have to consult my teacher friends.)

Despite all of that I’m still proud of that book because I’d like to think I was motivated twenty years ago, while holding a finished product in my hands, to do it again someday. Maybe if I hadn’t had that special moment as a child connecting with a story I’d written, The Soul Mender Trilogy would never have come to fruition.

So without further ado, I present to you The Crystal (1996), by eight-year-old me, as an answer to the question of when I first started writing.

 

I'm glad I have someone else to do my cover art now! I wonder how The Soul Mender would look with a slew of two legged animals across the front?

I'm glad I have someone else to do my cover art now! I wonder how The Soul Mender would look with a slew of two legged animals across the front?

Sadly the Rabbit/Lion book never came about. I'm sure it would have been great.

Sadly the Rabbit/Lion book never came about. I'm sure it would have been great.

Those are crystals everywhere, in case that wasn't obvious.

Those are crystals everywhere, in case that wasn't obvious.

This is my favorite page of the whole book. Not only because of the upside down e, but also because of my last minute decision to add Grandma to the list. I wish I could remember what Grandma did that made me happy enough to hand write her into the dedication page!

This is my favorite page of the whole book. Not only because of the upside down e, but also because of my last minute decision to add Grandma to the list. I wish I could remember what Grandma did that made me happy enough to hand write her into the dedication page!

You'll notice a pattern of hills, flowers, and side-suns throughout. Those were my artistic specialty! 

You'll notice a pattern of hills, flowers, and side-suns throughout. Those were my artistic specialty! 

See? Hills and flowers.

See? Hills and flowers.

Spanky and Melody were two tiny stuffed animals that my sister and I had. Thinking about it, I'm pretty sure my Grandma got those for us. That must be why she made it into the dedication page!

Spanky and Melody were two tiny stuffed animals that my sister and I had. Thinking about it, I'm pretty sure my Grandma got those for us. That must be why she made it into the dedication page!

Yikes. I certainly went dark and sad here for an eight year old. I guess that hasn't changed much. But why the bed?

Yikes. I certainly went dark and sad here for an eight year old. I guess that hasn't changed much. But why the bed?

Spanky's a smart dude. I'm pretty sure he was my toy and melody was my sister's. I'm also trying to remember if he came with that name or if I was just obsessed with Little Rascals at the time. Maybe both.

Spanky's a smart dude. I'm pretty sure he was my toy and melody was my sister's. I'm also trying to remember if he came with that name or if I was just obsessed with Little Rascals at the time. Maybe both.

I'm actually really proud of my drawing here of the dog kicking up dirt for some reason. #actionshot

I'm actually really proud of my drawing here of the dog kicking up dirt for some reason. #actionshot

Had to put myself in there. I was in most of my books. Eight-year-old me loved herself. Spanky is on top of a jungle gym if you couldn't tell. And I guess Melody can fly.

Had to put myself in there. I was in most of my books. Eight-year-old me loved herself. Spanky is on top of a jungle gym if you couldn't tell. And I guess Melody can fly.

This is still how I draw skunks to this day.

This is still how I draw skunks to this day.

Not sure why otter lives on an island with a palm tree or why Spanky has turned completely brown. My wildlife education came later in life.

Not sure why otter lives on an island with a palm tree or why Spanky has turned completely brown. My wildlife education came later in life.

Oh, doy. This ending both aggravates me and makes me happy. Going back, I had the crystal around Melody's neck in nearly every picture. How did Spanky not see it?!?!? And also, come on eight-year-old me. What a convenient ending! But at the same time I see those "jumping-for-joy" flowers and Spanky's excited ears and I'm glad I gave the story a happy (though cheesy) ending.

Oh, doy. This ending both aggravates me and makes me happy. Going back, I had the crystal around Melody's neck in nearly every picture. How did Spanky not see it?!?!? And also, come on eight-year-old me. What a convenient ending! But at the same time I see those "jumping-for-joy" flowers and Spanky's excited ears and I'm glad I gave the story a happy (though cheesy) ending.

Good job, Melody. Problem solved. Love the elaborate wedding cake for the party.

Good job, Melody. Problem solved. Love the elaborate wedding cake for the party.

I have to add that I also have a great mom. After rediscovering this book, we both chuckled that I mention everyone in my family except her. Even Grandma! So hi mom! (Googly-Goo, The Desert, and The Ocean are all still missing. If I can ever find them I will be sure to share!)

I have to add that I also have a great mom. After rediscovering this book, we both chuckled that I mention everyone in my family except her. Even Grandma! So hi mom! (Googly-Goo, The Desert, and The Ocean are all still missing. If I can ever find them I will be sure to share!)

Who doesn't love a happy ending?

Who doesn't love a happy ending?