So where did I get this thing, whatever you want to call it, about writing? When did I begin to want to be a writer, or more precisely, a storyteller? I think I've always been some kind of fancy, when it comes to my imagination. I won't say I was a perpetual liar growing up, but I liked to tell stories. And I loved stories. When I was a little boy, some of my favorite possessions were story books. I still remember the Aesop fables and Chinese folktales. I liked how they not only told me stories with morals, but also gave me a hint of that world in which the stories were written, whether it was ancient Greece or the Middle Kingdom.
Of course, my first love has always been movies. I was a movie baby. My parents first took me to the movies when I was very young. First it was the usual Disney cartoons and comedies. Then there were the more serious grownup films such as Doctor Zhivago and Jaws (I first saw Jaws when I was eight years old). My love for movies has never ceased,. What movies did to me, however, was awaken my imagination. There was a little voice inside that told me, "You have stories to tell. So tell them."
My "writing" career didn't really blossom until high school, but not without the usual struggles. I loved my creative writing assignments, but loathed the formal ones. I also hated the literary analyses and book reports. To me, those were tedious "work," and being the lazy student that I was, I hated all the work. But creative writing was never work for me. I loved it. And I often got good grades on those assignments. And one teacher, Mr. Lau (who has since passed away), actually went so far as to give this comment: "casual and poignant, yet powerful enough to move mountains." Now, that's some compliment a thirteen-year-old boy could not forget.
I also had to thank my good friend Andrew at school for helping me develop my skills and nurture my love for writing. Andrew, like me, was a writer, although our styles were rather different. Mine was a bit fanciful, and his was more grounded by reality. But we shared our work with each other. During one summer when we were both fourteen, Andrew and I exchanged, through mail, many short stories, poetry, couplets, song lyrics, word games and ideas. The more we wrote, the better we wrote. And by the end of that summer, we had written a few "volumes" of material, none of which, I felt, was publishable, but that was the first time I took writing seriously. Andrew was the first person in my life (other than my teachers) with whom I felt comfortable to share my work. And the real grace is this: Andrew and I remain friends to these days, and he was one of the first to read The Pacific Between before it got published. In a way, it was my way to say, "Thanks, buddy, look how far we've come." (Andrew, incidentally, published his first play years before I did my novel)
So, Andrew, if you're reading this, please let me say: "Don't let the dream die. Keep writing."
p.s. I wrote about 2000 words today. Yay! That's the most I've written in a day in, like, months, so that's a really good morale boost for me. Now I just have to think about the next scene, which is going to be interesting...
2000 words, 13200 words total
336 days and 172300 words to go