Monday, December 15, 2008

Bookending

I was 13 when I knew I wanted to be a writer. My dad had just finished reading Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords trilogy and passed it on to me, thinking that I might enjoy it. So while I was shuttered inside the house during a long Chistmas break, I sat by our wood burning stove and read all three books in the space of a week (for a hyperactive teen with ADD, three books in a week was a miracle).

It was the first time I had ever really noticed the magic of language and how clever turns of phrases made interesting and exciting scenes that much more magical. It was as if a light bulb inside my head was slowly beginning to glow. But it wasn't until I read the very last sentence of the third and final book of the trilogy that the light truly came on and it all finally fell into place. The first sentence of the first book and the last sentence of the last book were the same.

I remember grabbing the first book and opening it up to the first page and holding the two books side by side, examing the words. They were practically identical, yet the journey from point A to point B had given them completely different meanings. It was such a profound moment that I knew in that instant that THAT was what I wanted to do. I wanted to affect people the same way Saberhagen had affected me.

And I like to think that someday I will.

Yet of all the writing and storytelling techniques I've learned since that day, the concept of bookending still fascinates me the most. I always get excited when I see it. Alan Moore used it in Watchmen with the drop of red on the smiley face and again in "The Killing Joke" with the drops of rain falling in a dark puddle. The images or words may be identical, yet it's the story in between that gives each a separate meaning. It's the story that defines them (and I'm sure there are numerous other examples out there other than just these three).

As for my own writing, I've only used it once, with Fall of Cthulhu. Since it has been my longest ongoing series, I thought it fitting to use bookending as an homage to the story that infected me with the writing bug.

Which makes me curious about my fellow monkeys. At what moment did you know that you wanted to be a writer (or a musician, accountant, whatever)? Let's hear about it in commments.

41 comments:

Thomas said...

Read "Fear And Loathing: On the Campaign Trail of '72." Immediately decided to become a journalist.

Robert N. Emerson said...

It's kind of silly, but true none the less, as I learned to read at quite a young age and it seemed to impress everyone to see me, as a child, reading. Thus, reading and writing have always attached a special meaning to my life, almost a justification for being, since I feel it is life, so long as I can communicate, read, and write.

So, because of that positive reaction, I've always wanted to be a writer, be it comic books, novels, blogging, needless textual blather, or role-playing game design and development.

While it has yet to pay the bills, I still enjoy the fact that I can legitimately tell people that I am a freelance writer.

Who knows, maybe one day I will actually do something big, but until then, I am okay with the emotional paychecks.

Noumenon said...

Could you put the "posted by Michael Alan Nelson" at the top of the post instead of the bottom, please? It's still a great story but it's not Kung Fu's story like I thought it was.

Jado said...

I didn't know it, but as a kid I would draw US and German Nazi airplanes fighting and bombing over hilly land populated with army camps, on long rolls of computer paper. The US airplanes had better wings and better guns, so they always won.

Later in high school, I had an engineering drafting class. That was it. By drawing something better, by designing something cooler, by checking the numbers and making sure it will work before it is made, I always make sure the good guys win.

I am an engineer.

Shon Richards said...

I came across a giant book of illustrated Greek myths in the second grade. I was already a huge fan of the Superfriends and I was amazed that there was a whole other giant land of heroes and monsters. I read the book and couldn't really find any others like it in my elementary library. That sense of frustration at being cut off from more stories really inspired me to create my own adventures.

jacques du'loque said...

My cousin made me read Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabokov, when I was thirteen. Seeing what he could do with words, twisting them and playing with them, until sentences across the book alluded to each other in a sort of parallel narrative, blew my mind.

I knew I wanted to be able to do that.

Charlie Stross said...

Around 6 years old, my mother was trying to write a novel on a manual typewriter at the kitchen table. I suppose I imprinted on that as being the kind of thing sane adults do. She never finished it, but ...

Fast-forward another six years, and at school I had an English teacher who, to save herself some work, set my class to writing a long story -- not just four or eight pages of longhand, but to fill an entire exercise book. I was part of the 10% of the class who filled two.

Fast forward another year, and I got my hands on a typewriter. The rest was just your proverbial million words of crap, then: publication.

Jason Arnett said...

I was blown away by Robert Heinlein's The Number of the Beast and then Michael Moorcock's The War Hound and the World's Pain over the span of about three months in seventh grade. I was reading Heavy Metal that year because the movie was coming out, too (what? in '80 or '81?) and that was the stew that simmered on the stove of my wanting to be a writer.

I've spent quite a bit of time since that time (off and on, let's not be silly) trying to emulate those two writers and failing miserably until recently. It took me reading Graham Greene and W. Somerset Maugham short stories over the last couple of years to begin to understand Moorcock. Reading Harlan Ellison helped with understanding Heinlein, but I don't know why.

Now that I think I 'get it' I'm throwing more weight behind actually trying to write.

JD Rhoades said...

Read "Fear And Loathing: On the Campaign Trail of '72." Immediately decided to become a journalist.

I read it and immediately decided to go get really really high.

Let's just say I was a late bloomer.

Lyle Jantzi III said...

When I was in high school, I played a lot of MUD and read a lot of Star Wars novels. One day, I decided to start a silly star wars story where every character is based loosely on the personality of one of my friends (or their RP characters). Word got out and my notebook was stolen and passed around the school. Shockingly, people seemed to enjoy it. It took me a month to track the notebook down.

Even though that story has long since been abandoned, it was the initial spark that made me want to write.

berg said...

Honestly? I don't think I ever had that moment of realization you're talking about. Which seems weird, considering I've been writing stories since I first picked up a pencil.

Even in college, when I made the decision to transfer to film school, I never professed writing as my ambition. I just wanted to create, whatever that meant. And when I moved to LA and sold my first script? Still refused the label. It was only when I got my second staff job and signed with an agent that I finally accepted the designation.

I realize now that it was fear. If I never considered myself a writer, then I couldn't be disappointed if I didn't succeed at it. Even though I've been a working writer for years, the fear still kicks in once and a while. Then I end up with a boss like Rogers who's all into that positive reinforcement crap, and I have to go back to thinking that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

But... if I had to pick a book that kickstarted my imagination, it would undoubtedly be The Indian in the Cupboard. I must've read that a dozen times when I was in grade school.

Clayton Wick said...

In elementary school I hated writing. My biggest connection to the creative process was a woman who went around the city school system teaching us how to write narratives, and the whole thing was described in so boring and patronizing a way that I was more or less offended by the thought of doing what this woman told me to do. In the fifth grade we were assigned to write our own books. Being fifth graders I don't think a single one of us had a book that went a full thirty pages, but that teacher took me aside and said that other people she knew had read my book and "raved" about it. I realized that it wasn't writing I hated, but rather the presentation of the process.

Every couple of years I'd get discouraged and wander off to find something else to do, and every couple of years I'd do what I believed to be a half-hearted attempt at a short story or essay for a class and be told how great it was. Saying that I have some sort of gift as a writer would be a little bit pretentious and very much an outright lie, but it does seem to be a calling.

It's a calling I've neglected for the last several years, blaming health problems and writer's block, but in truth I think I'm just out of practice. I hope to turn that around in the next year.

Greg H said...

I don't remember a time when I DIDN'T know that I wanted to draw funny pictures, but I remember the moment when I knew I could.

I was 6 years old, and Walter Lantz spoke to the camera in the middle of the "Woody Woodpecker Show", demonstrating how to draw Woody. He quickly deconstructed him down to ovals, circles, and shapes and the lights flicked on.

I still use Woody as a demonstration when I'm talking to a bunch of primary grade school kids. They have no idea who the hell Woody Woodpecker is, but you can see the same flicker in the faces of those who suddenly "get it."

MoviePen said...

My high school English teacher handed me a poster for the Avon Young Writer's Contest and suggested I try it. My next English teacher helped me edit it, and a chem teacher lent me an Apple IIe that summer to write another novel.

It wasn't until much later that I realized writers wrote moving pictures as well, and my inspirations there were Harlan Ellison and Joe Straczynski.

Jon said...

When I was a wee lad, my father, a factory worker, would make up stories for bedtime, every night a new one (or so my memory tells me).

Later, I discovered he'd more or less worked his way through Grimm's, but it was too late by then; telling stories was what one did.

Monte Cook said...

I was in a B. Dalton bookstore looking at D&D modules and saw on the cover of one of them (Dwellers of the Forbidden City) that it said "by David Cook." It only caught my eye because his last name was the same as mine. At that moment (which I still remember vividly), I thought to myself, "wow, it's someone's job to create this stuff." I was about 12 years old and I knew that I wanted to be that someone, someday.

Anonymous said...

I seem to be the only non-writer but here goes - when I was in the antepartum unit trying not to give birth the nurse there was so stupid and so incredibly bad at her job I thought "Well, Christ, I can do better than that."
Thankfully for everyone I do!

That Girl
www.that33girl.blogspot.com

Christine said...

I was six years old and Mom took me from Brooklyn to Broadway to see ANNIE. At intermission, all the other little girls in the audience seemed intent on whirling around the lobby pretending to be this or that singing-and-dancing-orphan.

What I wanted to know was: Who made up the words that Annie, Daddy Warbucks and Miss Hannigan got to say? Who told them what to do and when to sing so the story made sense? That's when I knew that on some level I wanted to make shows like that. It also didn't hurt that I was a voracious reader from a young age--the pre-age-ten influences are almost too long to list. But Mom still calls ANNIE "the gateway drug."

John Seavey said...

Back in junior high, I wrote a silly little one-page story for a creative writing unit in my English class, and the teacher liked it so much she had it put into the yearly collection of stories and poems that the school published.

The resultant experience of total strangers walking up and saying they liked my story was pretty much it. Nothing beats the ego-stroking you get from knowing that someone liked your stuff. :)

d f mamea said...

somewhere in a fog of depression, i watched a particularly execrable movie and thought, christ, i could write better than that.

ten years later, i'm still eating my words with every script i write, and take heart from Mamet - Film is a collaborative business: bend over.

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little said...

I don't have a particularly good story to tell about deciding to become a writer. But the "bookending" topic of the post reminded me of the moment I recognized the parallelism in the way that Watership Down begins and ends.

First sentence: "The primroses were over."

Last sentence (paraphrased): "The primroses were just beginning to bloom."

Obvious parallel there (plus the symbolism of lining up the journey with the turn of the seasons and ending as spring is beginning), but only once you think to turn from back page to front and compare.

Thank you. I want to read the book you read, now.


(word verification: "unless" - sort of makes it hard to commit, doesn't it?)

Perry Jones said...

Off topic a bit, but I just got my Dad to read The Book of Swords over his visit this christmas holiday. I was aiming for the first trilogy, but he finished off the lot of them this afternoon.

Ken Krayeske said...

I had an HST accident once when I was 19, where I ate a hit of acid with a few friends while on spring break. Walked in my folks' house to get some trip supplies and my mom told me I had to cover a high school basketball game for the local daily (my part time job to help pay for college).

Couldn't call in sick, because she'd expect to see my byline. What else to do? Cover the story. Hope you don't freak out interviewing the coach after the final buzzer.

I knew long before then I was a writer though. First moment would be hard to tell. Knowing that my dad - a football coach - had published books on off-season weightlifting showed the accessibility of the written word. Maybe it was the giant children's books about being a policeman or fireman. It's been in my dna since before I understood it.

My parents, perceptive, smart folks, had me reading at an early age. I went to a summer camp for writers in fourth grade. I got in trouble for doing on the job research - no dictionaries in the classroom and I needed to spell the word extinguisher - so I found the nearest fire extinguisher and copied down the spelling.

My instinct always led me to the written word. Writing for the high school newspaper, then stumbling upon Kerouac's rules for spontaneou prose, and now I'm in law school because print journalism doesn't have a place for a voice like mine.

Thanks for the stories.

Anonymous said...

室內設計|隔熱紙|翻譯|花蓮民宿|投影機|醫學美容|抓漏|租車

mens dress shirts said...

you are amazing when you are in 13, being a writer is really cool.

Nay denature said...

gejala-gejala tidak normal di sekitar kelamin anda tidak perlu ragu dan bingung segera hubungi kami konsultasi. Cukup anda mengkonsumsi De Nature secara rutin serta pantangan dan anjuran yang kami berikan diikuti insyaAllah obat herbal kami bisa menjadi perantara kesembuhan anda. Obat De Nature ini tidak mengandung efek samping apapun yang dapat merugikan kesehatan tubuh anda. Bagi anda yang ingin memesan De Nature silahkan hubungi kontak kami

herbaldenature said...

cara menghilangkan kutil kelamin dan cara mengobati kutil di sekitar kemaluan dan kutil di kemaluan dan obat kutil di kemaluan dan obat kutil kelamin atau jengger ayam dan obat perontok kutil kelamin dan pengobatan kutil kelamin dan cara mengobati kutil kelamin dan kutil kelamin dan obat kutil kelamin dan obat kutil kelamin wanita merupakan solusi pengobatan herbal dari denature indonesia

herbaldenature said...

gejala-gejala tidak normal di sekitar kelamin anda tidak perlu ragu dan bingung segera hubungi kami konsultasi. Cukup anda mengkonsumsi De Nature secara rutin serta pantangan dan anjuran yang kami berikan diikuti insyaAllah obat herbal kami bisa menjadi perantara kesembuhan anda. Obat De Nature ini tidak mengandung efek samping apapun yang dapat merugikan kesehatan tubuh anda. Bagi anda yang ingin memesan De Nature silahkan hubungi kontak kami

obatdenature said...

cara menghilangkan kutil kelamin dan cara mengobati kutil di sekitar kemaluan dan kutil di kemaluan dan obat kutil di kemaluan dan obat kutil kelamin atau jengger ayam dan obat perontok kutil kelamin dan pengobatan kutil kelamin dan cara mengobati kutil kelamin dan kutil kelamin dan obat kutil kelamin dan obat kutil kelamin wanita merupakan solusi pengobatan herbal dari denature indonesia

obat herbal said...

obat sipilis obat sipilis raja singa obat wasir obat-wasir-herbal

Nay Denature said...

"Kutil kelamin atau condolyma atau jengger ayam disebabkan oleh Human Papiloma Virus. Gejala yang ditimbulkan : tonjolan kulit seperti kutil besar disekitar alat kelamin (seperti jengger ayam).(HPV) dengan gejala yang khas yaitu terdapat satu atau beberapa kutil di sekitar kemaluan. Area tumbuh kutil kami juga ada obat herbal penyakit kanker payudara stadium tiga

Pada perempuan

obat herbal said...

"Kutil kelamin atau condolyma atau jengger ayam disebabkan oleh Human Papiloma Virus. Gejala yang ditimbulkan : tonjolan kulit seperti kutil besar disekitar alat kelamin (seperti jengger ayam).(HPV) dengan gejala yang khas yaitu terdapat satu atau beberapa kutil di sekitar kemaluan. Area tumbuh kutil kami juga ada obat herbal penyakit kanker payudara stadium tiga

Pada perempuan

obat herbal said...

"Kutil kelamin atau condolyma atau jengger ayam disebabkan oleh Human Papiloma Virus. Gejala yang ditimbulkan : tonjolan kulit seperti kutil besar disekitar alat kelamin (seperti jengger ayam).(HPV) dengan gejala yang khas yaitu terdapat satu atau beberapa kutil di sekitar kemaluan. Area tumbuh kutil kami juga ada obat herbal penyakit kanker payudara stadium tiga

Pada perempuan

Nay Denature said...

obat kutil kelamin dan kutil kelamin dan kutil di kemaluan dan kutil di sekitar kemaluan dan obat kutil di kemaluan dan obat kutil kelamin di apotik dan kutil pada kemaluan pria dan obat herbal kutil kelamin dan obat kutil di sekitar kemaluan dan muncul bintik kutil pada kelamin dan obat ampuh menghilangkan kutil kelamin dan obat kutil di kemaluan merupakan solusi pengobatan herbal dari denature indonesia

First Aly said...

obat herbal kutil kelamin obat jika penis keluar nanah obat-kutil-kelamin-pada-wanita obat kencing nanah

obat herbal said...

obat herbal kutil kelamin obat jika penis keluar nanah obat-kutil-kelamin-pada-wanita obat kencing nanah

herbal medicine said...

obat penyembuh kencing nanah alami obat penyakit kencing nanah pengobatan ampuh penyakit kencing pengobatan spesialis kelamin keluar

wasirdenature said...

obat gonore atau kemaluan keluar cairan nanah obat cairan nanah keluar dari alat kelamin obat alat kelamin keluar nanah obat kemaluan keluar nanah obat wasir herbal obat kutil kelamin ampuh cara mengobati sipilis penyakit kencing nanah cara mengobati ujung kemaluan keluar nanah cara mengobati ujung kemaluan keluar nanah cara mengobati ujung kemaluan keluar nanah cara mengobati ujung kemaluan keluar nanah kemaluan yang keluar nanah kemaluan keluar nanah tapi tidak sakit obat wasir luar stadium obat herbal wasir stadium kenapa kemaluan lelaki keluar nanah obat ambeien tradisional paling ampuh obat ambeien tanpa operasi obat wasir ampuh di apotik obat wasir ibu hamil obat ampuh wasir berdarah obat untuk kemaluan lelaki yang keluar nanah obat penyakit gonore atau kemaluan keluar nanah

lionelmessi10 said...

obat gonore atau kemaluan keluar cairan nanah obat cairan nanah keluar dari alat kelamin obat alat kelamin keluar nanah obat kemaluan keluar nanah obat wasir herbal obat kutil kelamin ampuh cara mengobati sipilis penyakit kencing nanah cara mengobati ujung kemaluan keluar nanah cara mengobati ujung kemaluan keluar nanah cara mengobati ujung kemaluan keluar nanah cara mengobati ujung kemaluan keluar nanah kemaluan yang keluar nanah kemaluan keluar nanah tapi tidak sakit obat wasir luar stadium obat herbal wasir stadium kenapa kemaluan lelaki keluar nanah obat ambeien tradisional paling ampuh obat ambeien tanpa operasi obat wasir ampuh di apotik obat wasir ibu hamil obat ampuh wasir berdarah obat untuk kemaluan lelaki yang keluar nanah obat penyakit gonore atau kemaluan keluar nanah

مريم مر العمراوى said...

شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام

شركة رش مبيدات بالدمام

شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالدمام

شركة رش مبيدات بالخبر

شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالخبر

شركة مكافحة حشرات بالخبر

شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالجبيل

شركة مكافحة حشرات بالجبيل

شركة رش مبيدات بالجبيل

شركة مكافحة حشرات بالقطيف

شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالقطيف

شركة رش مبيدات بالقطيف


obat herbal said...

Mengatasi Kutil Di KemaluanKUTIL KELAMIN PADA PRIA DAN CARA MENGHILANGKANYA Penyakit kutil kelamin ini bisa menjadi hal yang sangat menyiksa bagi penderitanya. Jika yang mengalami adalah pria, kutil ini biasanya akan muncuk di dasar atau pada bagian batang penis dan menampakkan diri dalam uretra atau daerah dubur. Bukankah hal ini bisa membuat penderitanya sangat malu selain juga tidak nyaman. untuk cara pemesanana silahkan kunjungweb kami

obat untuk wasir externalWasir adalah penyakit dimana penderita mengalami kondisi berupa pembuluh darah yang teriritasi dan meradang dan lokasi terjadinya terletak di anus. untuk cara pemesanana silahkan kunjungartikel kami

obat kelamin keluar nanahPenyakit kencing nanah sering dikaitkan dengan penyakit sipilis atau yang juga terkenal dengan sebutan raja singa, karena gejala dan bentuk penyakitnya yang mirip. Namun, sebenarnya ada sedikit perbedaan antara kedua penyakit ini jika diperhatikan secara seksama. Mulai dari gejalanya, penyebarannya dan kompilkasi yang mungkin ditimbulkan.untuk cara pemesanana silahkan kunjungartikel kami

obat ambeien wasir ambeienWasir merupakan penyakit yang sering dialami oleh orang yang kekurangan serat ataupun terlalu lama duduk. Wasir yang juga sering disebut ambeien adalah penyakit yang terjadi di anus dimana terjadi pembengkakan terhadap bibir anus. Pembengkakan di bibir anus ini terkadang dapat juga menyebabkan pendarahan. untuk cara pemesanana silahkan kunjungbaca disini

obat kelamin keluar nanahDan kondisi ini dapat semakin parah dan kemudian menimbulkan berbagai macam komplikasi seperti peradangan sendi dan infeksi jantung. Hal yang seperti ini dapat dicegah dengan mengenali gejala awalnya, sehingga penyakit ini tidak bertambah parah. untuk cara pemesanana silahkan kunjungartikel kami

Mengobati Kutil Pada Kelaminentu saja kita agak seram membayangkan hal ini jika terjadi pada kita, tapi setidaknya cara ini memang terbaik karena dilakuka dengan bersih dan efisien. untuk cara pemesanana silahkan kunjungartikel ini

Obat Kutil Di Kemaluan WanitaHal inilah yang menjadi penyebab kenapa akhirnya banyak penderita yang mencoba berbagai solusi pengobatan herbal dan semacamnya. untuk cara pemesanana silahkan kunjungklik disin

Artikel Lain


http://www.obatkankerampuh.cf/2016/02/obat-kutil-kemaluan-pria.html