I discovered the world of literature in the third grade and began writing the following year, which was a terrible year for me. My fourth grade math teacher was an abusive, angry man. Although I can’t recall much about that year, I believe I was motivated to begin writing as a creative escape from what that man was doing to me.
I was not doing well in math, as you might imagine; so, despite personal involvement in what I was writing, when my regular teacher found my writings in the back of my notebook, I was not just reprimanded: she called my parents in for a special parent-teacher conference to forbid me to ever again waste my time writing silly stories. My parents, not wanting to cause trouble, fully backed her up.
My parents never did sanction the desire I had to express myself through writing. They had different aspirations for my life. However, while in high school and college, I took every literature, poetry, technical and creative writing course available. Still, it took many long years for me to come to terms with writing.
I moved to Japan after graduating college to afford myself the social freedom to research and write a novel. With less than half the novel written, I met a man who was very interested in my book. He asked if he could send off the first chapter and a synopsis to a few people for review.
I was hesitant, but gave him the copies. When he returned to Japan a few weeks later, he told me that the people he had sent copies to – a professor of creative writing, a former president of a publishing company, a prominent author and a few others - gave me a great reviews; then he told me he was a literary agent and wanted to represent my book. I was perplexed, but thrilled – until he came back to Japan the next time with projected deadlines and plans to sent me on a national book tour with radio and television interviews.
I was, at that young point in my life, quite shy. Television and radio interviews? I froze up and could no longer think clearly about the novel, nor could I write another page.
It was many years later when I finally realized how important writing is for my soul and was forced to abandon my self-denial and lame excuses. I began writing again about five years ago, and finished a novel that was fit only for the recycle bin. That novel, however, taught me a great deal and gave me recyclable material to work with for a very long time.