Saturday, January 10, 2009

Falling Of a Cliff

So where did it all begin for me. I am a 62 year old author, with nine published works under my wing and nine in the pipeline. However, no one should think I woke up one morning and decided I was the world's next Dickens. (That happened years ago - just joking). It all started when I was twelve years old.

It began when my grandmother gave me an old upright typewriter for my birthday, many years ago . . . a half century at least . . . and thereby hangs my taleI had a typewriter, and I had fingers, so therefore I was a writer . . . a twelve year old writer. My imagination went wild, straight off a cliff in fact. I sat in front of the infamous white page and told my first story. It was a tale about a Boy Scout camping trip filled with campfires and ghost stories and a friend, who when scared from his tent during a prank, ran in the wrong direction — right off a cliff. Of course, he's stranded on a convenient ledge until my father was able to lower himself down to save him. Thrills. Chills.The major problem with this story, which I term my first novel, was it wasn't fiction. It actually happened. I didn't even bother to change the names of the characters. The only thing I continually changed was the title. Prank. and Campfire Dares. When I think back, it was dreadful. I even managed to use a curse word — not the fabled, hallowed F word, but the S word (and with boyish glee).

I often think about that first work. Falling Downward. (How many ways can one do it?). Boy Scout Daze. (Gimme a break). It had some elements that I maintained for years . . . bad spelling, awful grammar and a penchant for contrivance. Still, a book about young men in the wild did strike a good first note. I've written reams about young men in various states of wild since. What lingered was the three staples binding the proscribed novel into something tangible; something wrought from nothing. That has always stayed with me. Afterall, isn't that the first lesson we learn when we create, that we create. Prior to the thought, there were no words, no tale, not even the typewriter, which my sainted grandmother saddled me with all those years ago, like a commission from one generation to another.

What was I to do? I did what any twelve year old nancy boy with a typewriter could do. I declared my novel a resounding success and aimed my typewriter at creating librettos for imaginary operas. I dug in and built a new Babylon, rewrote history in my mind and animated a kingdom of birds (that twittered duets and trios even). To hell with football! (with boyish glee).

Shall I tell you more? I think I will . . . next time.

Edward C. Patterson

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