Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When Did You First Become Interested in Writing?

I've been interviewed several times since my first novel, Where Love Once Lived, was published and one of the questions often asked was "When did you first become interested in writing?"

My earliest memory of writing is when my sister, Barbara Cagle, decided we would publish  a neighborhood magazine. We were living on Pete's Path in Austin at the time, so I had to be about twelve years old. She had written and produced some neighborhood plays several years before this when we lived on Josephine Street in South Austin.

But, my involvement as a writer didn't occur until the magazine phase. By publish, keep in mind that the magazine was handwritten and each copy was handwritten as well. So there wasn't a wide distribution and the magazine only last for a summer. When school started we were too busy to continue it. But I remember getting to write and I remember the encouragement from Barbara.

She also told me I had to keep a journal of all the movies I went to see. We included movie reviews in the magazine as well as news about our neighbors. I remember getting a spiral notebook and on one side I pasted the ad for the movie clipped from the newspaper. On the other side was the movie review itself. I wish I still had that spiral notebook. It was lost in a heavy rain that flooded my basement bedroom years later while I was away in the Marine Corps. I lost all my precious books in that storm, but that's a story for another time.

I had the writing bug from then on. Aptitude tests showed an interest in creative writing, but my school counselors said I should think of it as a hobby since few people made a living from writing. So, I ended up majoring in computer science and wrote for the fun of it, including a novel written about my time in the marines that was never finished.

I also wrote short stories. Only one was published, but it was a thrill to see it in print. Much of the writing I did was as a part of my jobs as a computer programmer and systems analyst. I was called on to do the reports, or apply for grants, and I learned my writing gave me a way of persuading others that I couldn't do face to face.

I published one computer book, Automated Law Office Systems, but it was short lived due to the rapid changes in computers.

I realize this would be too long an answer to the question posed at the beginning, but there you have it. And, by the way, my sister is still writing. She had a funny article published in the Sunday magazine of a Houston paper and she has placed in writing contests as well.

Thank you, Barbara.

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