On Becoming a Writer - My Earliest Years

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

Childhood memories

Whether cherished or hated

Inform our nature

As writers, we all share similarities and have unique differences regarding our journey on becoming a writer. With this blog post, we will find out which similarities and differences I share with some of you by considering my earliest memories about being creative and writing. I have broken them into three distinct childhood aspects.

My first aspect did not involve writing at all, but rather how I used my imagination in creative play with my favorite stuffed animals. Even today, I can pause and recall how I put each of my fuzzy friends on my bed, floor, or blanket spread across the furniture. We shared many thrilling adventures. Whether on a rescue mission on the high-seas or daring escape across hot lava, or Bugs Bunny as the captain or my Sea World dolphin just part of the team, we always seemed to work together to save one another. This positive interaction may seem alien to those of you who have read most of my darker tales, but regardless, it existed. And I would like to believe such positivity still influences most of my stories, if only hidden.

The second childhood aspect involved songwriting when I was four or five. I had created a list of personally written songs. All of them, but one, have been pilfered by time. The paper, stapled booklet, full of my crayon lyrics, was tossed in the garbage in a careless moment. Thankfully, one song has remained etched in my memory to this day.

[older brother’s name] the jerk

Who drives a Pacer

And can’t find work

This older brother, who shall remain unnamed, used to tease me. He would say to me, “You are a baby,” and I would promptly retort, “I am not a baby!” These statements emerged from our mouths like a tennis match, continuing until I became animated, stomping my feet and crying. I suppose creating the above song was my attempt at retaliation.

While our current familial love does not see such extremes in emotion, this older brother has occasionally reminded me how angry I would become due to his teasing. Of course, I have always then reminded him of the song. And as I wrote this blog post, I chuckled, realizing why this song has not been lost to the ravages of time.

The third and final formative aspect in my youth likely informed my love of writing the most. During the holidays, between the ages of four and nine, I would gather my younger brother and various cousins into an upstairs bedroom away from the rest of the family who remained downstairs. Influenced by our favorite holiday cartoons, music, and religious themes, we would create a pageant or play to perform for the rest of the family before opening our presents. I typically seized both the head writer's and director's roles, leading others to decisions I enjoyed, allowing one of my cousins the honor of playing the piano. If I had known how to play an instrument, I would have likely annexed control of that duty as well.

Despite the fervor in my heart each year toward these holiday plays, they ended abruptly one year and never resumed. I have not been able to recall the specific reasons, but it was likely due to us getting older and finding such frivolities childish. My future social anxiety had started to sprout as well, and I probably neglected to corral the others to come together and perform as a way for me to avoid my inner turmoil from perceived scrutiny, which seemed all too real to my child’s eye. Still, despite my avoidance, these aspects, or foundations, of my creative zeal certainly continued into junior high. They turned inward to my fantasies and ruminations as I began to explore books and immerse myself in their worlds, to which I suspect many of you can relate.

Today, I certainly have seen evidence of my younger creative self as I interact with Delaney. I have become adept at creating random songs for her throughout the day, which may occasionally frustrate my wife. I have given Delaney countless nicknames. Little D, stinkerpotamus, cheese monster, and cutie patootie are some of my favorites. I have given most of her dolls all names as well. I have created a routine for reading to her in different voices, accents, and emotional inflections, even going so far as to make up stories for books I do not care for. And of course, I have pretended to be most of her stuffed animals: enacting chase and rescue scenes, reading books to her, making meals, and engaging in epic sword battles. I have been, in a word, me. My hope in these endeavors has been to help her embrace her own creativity. I look forward to the day when she actively gives me roles and actions to follow as she becomes the director.

I hope you enjoyed this exploration into my earliest days of becoming a writer. A future blog may explore my middle years.

Until then, what were some of your earliest creative adventures? How did you first explore becoming a writer, actor, artist? I believe conjuring such experiences, whether painful or joyful, helps us in our artistic journeys, informing us who we really are at our core while growing into the creator we want to become.

Thank you for reading!

You can find me on Instagram, Pinterest, Wattpad, and Medium with the handle @michaelrkielfictions. If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to share to your friends, fellow writers, and readers on your social media platforms!

Take care!

Michael R Kiel Fictions

Blog 4 – 12-23-2020

Photo found on crateandbarrel.com

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