During a recent visit to my parent’s house in Denver, I opened a chest that contained a whole bunch of my elementary school work, a lot of little league trophies, and some drawings of pigs wearing glasses.
But best of all was the first short story I ever wrote.
The story occupies the bottom half of a sheet of paper. The top half has a terrifying illustration by yours truly.
A scared-looking bald man with a square head, square torso, square legs, square fingers, square feet, and two wide, wild eyes is walking in the foreground. A geometrically unsound castle looms beyond. Before I describe the rest of the picture, here is the story itself:
The man walked down the road. There was lots of lightning. What’s in that castle!!! A snake bit his foot and the man screamed. LIGHTNING!!!
Then a vulture swooped down and pulled his arm off and flew away and nobody ever saw that man again. THE END.
The vulture is a big pair of wings and a beak with two angry eyebrows. There is a square arm hanging from its beak.
I was simultaneously delighted beyond words and a bit disturbed. Who was that kid? He was the kid who would “grow up” to write The Face In The Window and every penny dreadful piece of pulp he could ever get his hands on. But he was also the kid who wanted Fern from Charlotte’s Web to be his girlfriend.
As far back as Ms. Poindexter’s first grade class in Farmington New Mexico, I was writing stories. Why? Who knows…
Maybe you’re a storyteller yourself. Maybe you just know someone like me who seems to see everything as a reason to tell a story.
Why do people tell stories? Why do we tell stories?
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