Thursday, April 7, 2011

Every author has a book that made them stop and think, "Yeah . . . yeah, this is what I want to be.  This is what I want to do."  For some, it's great works like Dune or The Great Gatsby.

For me, it was a Dungeons and Dragons novel titled The Tainted Sword.

It was 5th grade, the mystical year 1992.  Every kid had a Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance book in their backpack . . . every kid except me.  I don't remember what else I was reading (it would be another year before I discovered Star Wars and Jurassic Park) but I had no interest in four inch thick dragon books (I still don't).

My friend Ann, in her infinate wisdom and perpetual coolness (which remains to this day) gave me a book she had just finished reading.  From the first page, I was hooked.  The progaonist, Jo, helps restore the fallen knight Flynn to his former glory.  Cheap and cheesy as the words themself were, the story of redemption, of honor, of a woman's bravery . . .I'm convinced that this, combined with Cutthroat Island, made me the feminist I am today.

That, and it had the first sex scene I'd ever read, except for the time my mother caught me reading H is for Hooker.  "He brushed aside a lock of her hair that had come unbound during their passion . . . ."  Pretty sexy stuff for a 10 year old who wouldn't get a boyfriend for another five years.

Turning those pages, I remember having that wonderful thought . . . I could do thisI want to do this.  I got a composition book and a Bic pen and haven't stopped writing since.  I gave up on writing fantasy in college, mostly because I wasn't very good at it (although my story "Gabriel," (which I'm just now realizing can be traced directly back to The Tainted Sword, right down to Roxanne's red hair) was a finalist for Writers of the Future) but I had since discovered boys and Raymond Chandler.  I still have all those early stories somewhere, including a 400 page, 2-volume novel series I wrote, the title of which completely escapes me at the moment.

I borrowed that book from Ann so many times that she finally gave it to me.  The original copy still sits on my shelf.  I pull it out once in awhile to remember where I started and why.

1 comment:

  1. For me it was The Truck Book by Harry McNaught. I don't think I progressed beyond that.