I’ve been thinking a lot of about the talks given at the Otter dinner the other night as well as other talks I’ve heard from writers over the years. Sometimes listening to writers give those talks is hard for me. It seems like everyone has some concrete moment in their past that connects them to books and to words, that draws them to the writing life. A magical moment that brings tears, the good kind, as they look back and wonder how they got to be the writer they are today. I don’t have an inciting incident in my life for why I do what I do. I don’t have a treasured memory of driving for hours to a favorite bookstore or of being read my favorite book by some family member. I don’t remember first learning to read or write. I got yelled at for checking out too many books from the library and I got in trouble from teachers for writing papers longer than they were supposed to be. Not the sort of events that might lead one to a literary life.
As a child I had holes in my life that only books could fill. There weren’t many books in my house and my family was not a family of readers. Just me, the oddball. The one who learned to be seen and not heard. Still, somehow, I found my way to books and words. I wish I knew how and why and when. But I know what’s most important is that I found my way at all.