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Monday, February 13, 2012

Once Upon A Time: Origins Blogfest






The brain child of DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude, the co-sponsors include Alex J Cavanaugh, Katie Mills aka Creepy Query Girl and Matthew MacNish at The QQQE.


On Monday, February 13th, post your own origin story. Tell us all where your writing dreams began. It could be anything from how you started making up stories as a child, or writing for the school newspaper, or even what prompted you to start a blog. How about stories about the first time somebody took an interest in your writing, or maybe the singular moment when you first started calling yourself a writer. It all started somewhere and we want you to tell us your own unique beginnings. 




           There were always stories when I was a kid and it seemed like we went to the movies every week.  I became enthralled with the art of the story.  It felt natural to write my first story in the third grade.


           After we had moved to San Diego in the summer of 1959, I started my school season at James Whitcomb Riley Elementary School in Mrs. Stork's class.  The Twilight Zone debuted on television that year and I was an immediate fan.  When Mrs. Stork gave us the assignment to write a short story I  was ready.


         My intent was to write a scary story in a Twilight Zone mode, but what I ended up with was probably a bit too gory to be a Twilight Zone kind of story. The story was about a cross-country truck driver  who is going from Pittsburgh to California.  I don't recall what exactly happened, but I do recall the driver disintegrated into a bloody mess..


        I liked my story and thought I was a pretty good writer.  From that point on I was hooked.  Never afraid to experiment with my writing, I tried my hand at writing poetry, songs, essays, and journalistic style articles.  The short stories were my favorites though.  I liked to let my imagination go wild.


          Third grade.  That's when I decided I wanted to be a writer.  I've often slowed down and taken many a break, but the writing dream has always been there.  And that's the once upon a time when it all began.




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47 comments:

Annalisa Crawford said...

I wonder what your teacher thought when she was confronted by your disintegrated mess. She was probably expecting something slightly different?

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

The fiction students present teachers with must give them a strangely distorted peak into the inner workings of the juvenile mind.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Now I'm curious how gory of a story you wrote at that age!

YeamieWaffles said...

Wow, this does sound like an amazing story, it's very interesting that you originally were just doing one writing project that eventually snowballed into the massive one that is your blog and your other projects currently.

That horror sounds like a great story to me, the premise is definitely a scary one, I'd love to read it myself!

SA Larsenッ said...

Third grade? That is awesome, to be so sure at such a young age.

Stuart Nager said...

Very cool. I agree with the above: I'd love to know what your teacher's (and parents) reactions to the story.

Nowadays, if you wrote something really gory, the parents would be called in and you'd be meeting with the school shrink. sigh.

Miranda Hardy said...

I'm not even sure I recall much of third grade at all. I love the twilight zone. I can imagine what your teacher must have thought of that story.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

It appears Lee that most people start when young, I was the opposite, I was more interested in music and piano playing when young hence my love of music,

Thanks for your visit and comment, much appreciated.

Yvonne.

Matthew MacNish said...

Cool to get to know your writing origins better, Lee!

Tara Tyler said...

i love seeing a spark at such a young age!
great beginning!

farawayeyes said...

Someone knowing what they want to do from the third grade boggles my mind.

mish said...

A third-grader back-in-the-day would write a different type of a "gory story" compared to a modern third-grader...
I'm wondering what the "gore" consisted of?
Wonderful origins, Lee!

Arlee Bird said...

Annalisa-- Actually I don't think she said much of anything. Teachers were pretty good about not making a big deal of things back then. I wish I still had the paper to see if she wrote anything on it.

Delores -- You should have seen some of the artwork I came up with.

Alex -- In my mind it seemed pretty gory, but I don't know how much my writing conveyed that gore.

Matthew Waffles-- If the story is still to be found I'll reprint it here when I find it.

SA -- In second grade I was certain that I wanted to be a preacher--I haven't attempted that one yet, but who knows where the future might lead.

Stuart -- The climate at schools can be kind of intrusive at times, but I guess in some cases it's a good idea.

Miranda -- I don't remember all that much either. I also don't remember Mrs Stork being that much of a fun teacher.

Yvonne -- I started developing a strong interest in music at the same time as I began playing the violin. Sometimes I think the two passions were battling each other for my attention.

Matt M -- It'll be fun to see how everyone else's interests developed.

Tara -- It's good to see kids involved in creative activity.

Farawayeyes-- Like most kids I had career dreams as far back as I can remember--not always realistic, but usually possible.

Mish -- I recall the truck driver melting into a bunch of blood and leaving only a skeleton behind. I was fascinated by skeletons back then.

Lee

DL Hammons said...

Heck...I can't even remember the 3rd grade! Love the disintegrating truck driver!! :)

Thanks for sharing your ORIGIN today!

Munir said...

You certaily let your imagination go wild with the truck diver ( it is frightening to imagine). You blogs are always very interesting to read. Glad that you kept your love for writing alive.
I cannot wait for A - to Z challenge.

kirstenlopresti said...

I've wanted to write since I was very young, too. Maybe not third grade, but around that time.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

The driver disintegrated? You were tough on your characters.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Twilight Zone...man, some of those stories stick with me to this day. Glad it inspired a writer!

nutschell said...

Hi Arlee!

I'm dropping by from the origins blogfest. I love how you decided you wanted to be a writer in 3rd grade. I think that's when my writing bug bit me hard too!

Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Sarah Pearson said...

How much would I have loved to read that first story?

Bish Denham said...

I think, in many ways, our stories are similar...those breaks, yet always coming back to blank page that wants to be filled up with words.

cleemckenzie said...

Hey! I grew up in San Diego--well, a few years, critical years actually. Ramona Convent kick started my education and turned me into an agnostic. Too bad I didn't go to James Whitcomb Riley instead.

As to the Twilight series . . I still remember some of those episodes as if I'd just seen them. Do you remember the one about the writer? The story kept starting, then ending and it wasn't until the last that viewers learned a writer was creating different drafts of the same story? Poor characters never did much more than begin again and again and again.

S. L. Hennessy said...

Wow, third grade. That's a lot of ambition for a kid. It took me a little longer. Great post.

J.L. Campbell said...

Arlee, you sound like a rounded writer, able to create in several formats.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Oh yes, The Twilight was among the most ingenious shows in TV history. I like that it inspired your writing journey. And Mrs. Stork is a great name for an elementary school teacher too.
Cheers, Arlee.
xoRobyn

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I was making up stories before I could even read or write, but sure didn't have your kind of self-confidence by third grade. Good for you. You must be like my husband. He never needed time to "find himself", because he chose his path when we were kids ... down to his profession and who he was gonna marry. And what's more, he followed it. (I'm still amazed!)

Ashley Nixon said...

It's so awesome you tried your hand at all sorts of writing! I think that's the best way to be as a writer. Although, in college, I've found I can't please every professor, and writing is subjective. At one time, I thought it was easier than Math and Science, but now I'm like "Whatever, Math and Science have real answers!"

Great post!

Susan Kane said...

Third Grade is a pivotal year. Reading to learn, instead of learning to read. Had an awesome teacher as well: Mary Ellen Willard. There were a few of us who moved rapidly into creating our own library and stores, and illustrations. It was a big year for me: I became a writer.

Tracy Jo said...

Fun to read where it all started for you! I think it is awesome you knew at such a young age too and that you never let it go.

Ciara said...

Third grade? Wow, that's amazing you knew that early in life. :)

Joanne said...

I have always loved to write. I wish I had taken it more seriously earlier.
I too would love to read that gory story!
Blessings, Joanne

Stephen Tremp said...

I can relate to writing Twilight Zone stuff as a kid. Wow! That brings back memories. This was probably some of the best writing I did as a kid.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I loved watching The Twilight Zone and now my older son enjoys watching it with me when he's in town. That must've been quite a story for a third grader. Come to think of it, you recently wrote another Twilight Zone type story that was really good! Julie

Neil Vogler said...

Hi Lee. Greetings from Rachel Harrie's Campaign Trail.

I like your blog -- good content, good look, good attitude. Made me curious. I'm following.

Neil

K.T. Hanna said...

I think I'd like to read a story about a disintegrating truck driver. Great story, and it's so good to see you've stuck with the love for writing - even on and off.

Ann Best said...

Short stories were always my favorite. I worked my way through volumes of O. Henry prize stories that I checked out from the library in my late teen years, about 1956-57. They were the BEST. And like you, Lee, my desire to write goes way back, to the first grade.

And thanks for stopping by this morning. Melissa's book The Christmas Village is JUST delightful. And Happy Valentine's Day!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I love how many of us started the passion of writing young - and I love that you were a horror writer right off. Thanks for sharing.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

ohhh The Twilight Zone - scared the heck out of me when I was a kid, yet I couldn't look away. Also remember something called Fantasmic Features...Your story sounds like a cross between the two!

Arlee Bird said...

My thanks to everyone else who stopped by to comment on my post. I'll be keeping my eye out for that old truck driver story. I'm sure it's long gone but who knows? It may show up somewhere someday.

Lee

LynnRush said...

Once upon a time is a GREAT place to begin! :)
Best wishes to you, Arlee!!! :)

Ella said...

You started so young! I love this story, maybe you should write A-Z Twilight Zone book with short stories. ;D

Rek said...

Third grade ...damn early by my standards...I was under the impression I read and commented on your origins post. Glad you have been writing all through.

Jeremy Bates said...

You discovered your writing talents at an early age. and Thanks to Mrs. Stork for the assignments that she gave where you started to develop your writing skills.

Arlee Bird said...

Thanks for the continued comments. My Twilight Zone writing skills are probably not as good as I thought they were when I was young.

Lee

Susanne Drazic said...

Enjoyed reading about your writing origins. I always liked watching the Twilight Zone. Will still watch them once in a while, when they have a marathon going on.

Deniz Bevan said...

Third grade, and a bloody mess. Love that origin story!

Scarlett said...

Twilight Zone brings back memories of many creepy nights in front of the television! Remember the one with Bill Shatner and the monster on the wing of the plane?!

Your third grade bloody mess fantasy is all too familiar in raising kids (two of them boys). Funny, 'Once Upon A Time' brings to my mind visions of dwarfs and pretty girls with wicked step-monsters. *g*

Fun Origins, Lee!