Friday, December 9, 2011

The birth of a writer

Are writers born or made? I can't claim that I actually emerged from the womb in an inner city Chicago hospital telling stories. At least not right away. I was too busy figuring out how this crazy world works. But here's what I do know--I started writing before I actually could write.

Impossible you say? Let me explain.

Every writer should have a mother like mine. An academic and historian, she was working on her dissertation when I was in the womb. Some of that must have seeped into my brain. She was always writing and reading, and so of course I wanted to as well. Before I could really write, I would do curly cues on the page that I thought looked like cursive and announce that they were stories. I would then proceed to read them aloud (editing them on the fly, as necessary). I also dictated stories (fiction and non-fiction) and songs to my willing secretary, otherwise known as Mom.

Here's one of my songs (written at age 4):

Alexander the Great
He's the best in the state
He's the king, he's the king, he's the king.
He jumps on the bed and and he stands on his head
He's the king, he's the king, he's the king.

Pretty snazzy, huh? I still know the tune, too. If you buy me a drink at Malice or the Edgars, I might even sing it for you.

My mother was my first audience. She made me want to share what I wrote with others (not always so appreciative, but hey, developing writing skills takes time).  And so my writing career began, and I hope my writing continues to bring myself (and readers) pleasure for the rest of my life.


madelineiva said...

I wrote a blues song when I was in the fifth grade:
Rosemary had a baby,
and it was very strange,
it had blue hair,
and it might-a had mange,

TMI, I know.

Mary Mack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lizzy Miles said...

I am so very proud of you and all that you have and will accomplish.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Your mom sounds wonderful, Meredith!

And learning how to fake being a writer early must have been indispensable for later panels and editorial meetings (what's the next book about? umm...flying monkeys...).

Glad you kept at it!

Meredith Cole said...

Glad I'm not the only one who wrote amazing songs and turned it into a writing career, Madeline!

Meredith Cole said...

Awww... Thanks so much! Your support means so much.

Meredith Cole said...

Ha! Was just picturing you having to write a book about flying monkeys. You could do it and make it wonderful, though.

Michael Wiley said...

#1. You apparently knew who Alexander the Great was when you were just four.

#2. You had a sense of meter at four.

#3. As for me, at age four, I was perfecting my ability to drool.

I'm impressed.

Meredith Cole said...

Thanks Michael! My mom was a historian, which I guess explains a lot...