You know, I honestly have no idea. Sure, that little Dracula vs Frankenstein playlet in fifth grade might have been an inkling, but it really developed more out of my desire to make people laugh. Early on, I saw myself as an entertainer. I was in the Christmas play in second grade, I was in the talent show in fifth and sixth grades, I hosted the talent show in 8th grade, I was in plays in high school, I entered talent shows and was in plays in college, and I worked as a dj at the college radio station. If I could make somebody laugh, I was having a good day.
Along the way, writing seemed to be another outlet for entertaining people. My early output, though, wasn’t comedic — it sprang from my life-long love affair with science fiction. I remember writing about a space trip in third or fourth grade. I wasn’t prolific, but I was focused. I had a whole folder full of short stories by the time I hit high school, not counting the humorous creative pieces I wrote for the student paper in eighth grade. (Never wrote for the school paper before or after that grade. I’m not sure why.) (Well, in high school, I know why. I was allowed only a couple of extra-curricular activities, thanks to an over-protective parent and a lack of transportation. I chose band and drama. Silly me.)
It wasn’t until high school that I thought seriously about writing. My first attempt at a novel happened in 12th grade, a pastiche of Keith Laumer’s Retief stories that I mentioned in this post. But did I focus on writing as my chosen career path?
Nope. I wanted to be a dj! Which led to my working for the college radio station, which led to me making some great friendships. In fact, my only continuing friendships from college are thanks to that station, the “sandbox” we students played in, as it was disparagingly referred to by a community heavy-weight who convinced the college president to take it away from us and turn it into an NPR station. (And thus assuring himself of a job for 30+ years — the community heavyweight, not the college president.)
Why didn’t I become a professional dj? In college, I finally heard myself on tape. Sigh. So I took another career path — broadcast production. Which, in various forms, has formed the major part of my working life. The only other work I’m good at is administrative, which has formed the secondary part of my working life. And all this time, I really should’ve been writing.
More about my writing life in a subsequent post.