To say that I was disinterested in reading or writing when I was young would be an understatement. I hated English. I didn’t want to write essays or short stories, diagram sentences, read or write book reports. To be truthful, I could count the number of books I had read from cover to cover by the time I graduated from college on one hand. I took bone-head English because it was required to graduate. Sad. I had other interests—and the grades to prove it.
I was well into my thirties when began to read. I had been to Vietnam ten years previous and became curious about the history of the country and the war that had taken a year of my life and several of my friends. That curiosity spread into other topics, factual and fictional, piquing my interest in the written word especially style. Still, any interest in my own writing remained dormant.
Fast forward to the 1990’s when I retired and began a new job. Ironically, one of my new duties included editing a small magazine. Then the door opened a crack. In 2001 on September 11th, I discovered someone very close to me was at ground zero. For four hours I didn’t know whether they were among the lives that tragically ended that fateful day. It was the most difficult four hours of my life.
To my great relief, I learned they had survived. But days later, still a knotted tangle of emotions, I sat in front of my computer monitor and stared at the cursor blinking in the upper left-hand corner of the empty screen, unable to pull my thoughts together and write the lead article. My mind numb and blank, I decided to write what I was feeling, and as it goes—the rest is history. It was at that moment when I released those cathartic words, I realized the underlying power of writing.
Every story is a journey. The route and the destination aren’t always clear, but the discovery you experience in your travel, the sense of fulfilment that embraces you when you arrive, are the sources of your enjoyment. Each story is unique, the journey enlightening.