From the moment I saw my first book, I wanted to be a writer.
I grew up around books. Sometimes we had money. Sometimes we didn't. But we always had books. Fiction, nonfiction, picture books and educational books and big important novels. True crime and legal tomes and the classics. Encyclopedias and reference books. New books with a spine that cracked when you opened it. Used books that smelled like the pulpy wood in the basement that flooded three times a year. I was banned from the Glen Ellyn library because I would check books out but refuse to bring them back, because I forgot or I wanted to re-read or because once I had consumed a book, it was mine.
SlackMom's friends were readers before Book Clubs became popular and before Oprah told you what to like. She'd lug Older SlackBrother J and I along as they gathered in a two story townhouse that held the local bookstore. We'd sit on the fuzzy rug or curl up in the rocking chair and SlackMom would chat and laugh and drink coffee and I'd think this is what being an adult it, being surrounded by books and the people who love them.
Between The Giving Tree and The Clown of God and that picture book where the dog with a home gives the homeless dog all of his Christmas presents, because he has a family and that's the only present you ever needed, I realized the power of the written word. While my universe expanded and retracted and imploded upon itself and began anew, books carried me from one life to the next.
I always thought I'd be a novelist by the time I graduated from high school. It just made sense. While I was uncertain and filled with self-hatred, like an amorphous glob of Silly Putty that sucked up every bad impression someone had of me, the one thing I was confident about it that I would write. I was a writer.
It never occurred me to study writing in school. I had to earn a living, after all, and while majoring in Film wasn't exactly the path to steady income, I was confident I could turn it into a career. Two years of living in Los Angeles taught me that I could turn it into a career.
But I wanted to write.
I wrote essays, I wrote bits of dialog for screenplays (I wrote so, so many bits of dialog for screenplays), I wrote novels that languished, partially-finished in a drawer. I wrote something called a "Personal Website" that eventually was called a "blog."
I finally began to write TV specs which eventually turned into Writing TV. I was writing, and making a living at it.
But things got slow and life got dark and my universe, well, it imploded once again on pretty much every level.
And I didn't make a living at writing. At all.
But I still wrote. I wrote specs and I wrote here, oh G-d, did I write here, I wondered and I whined and I worried. Was I still a writer if I didn't get paid for it?
(The answer is you're a writer if you write. That's all.)
And so I wrote some more. One day I while reading a blog I saw something about a Tween Social Networking Website and two clicks later I was pitching myself via email to write for the site. I attached my resume for their review.
Two hours later I was asked if I wanted to take a writing test.
Two days after completing the writing test I was asked if I wanted to write a book?
It doesn't have my name on it. (But as my good friend James says, the check sure did!) But it's a book.
I wrote a book.
And today, that book showed up on my doorstep.
I have been so insanely busy, with the ARG for the show I'm working on and there's another book just like the one above that's due in six weeks. I am chained to my computer for most of the day, I rarely see my husband and I don't see my friends. Because I have a ton of writing to do.
This is the best kind of problem to have.
But Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted.
Charlie Bucket: What happened?
Willy Wonka: He lived happily ever after.