For this blogfest participants were asked to post your own origin story. Tell us all where your writing dreams began.
I was six years old and just learning how to read when I was able to enjoy a book that I had owned since I was four. It was titled Ma Liang and the Magic Paintbrush. There have been hundreds of incarnations of this ancient Chinese folktale done over the years, as the story is not only enduring, but universal.
Ma Liang is a very poor young boy that loves painting, but cannot afford a paintbrush of his own. An old man gave him a magic paintbrush and tells him to help the poor, as whatever he paints would materialize and come to life. And that's what he does - he paints oxen to help with the fields and a river so his people could get clean water.
But a corrupt and greedy official hears of Ma Liang and his power, so he imprisons the boy and steals the paintbrush - which wouldn't work for him. So he forces the boy to paint a mountain of gold, but Ma Liang draws a sea surrounding it. The official orders him to paint a ship so he could get to the gold, which the boy does. And when the official and his soldiers climb on board the ship filled with riches, Ma Liang paints a massive tempest, which destroys the ship. And Ma Liang returns to his village where he continues to paint things to help those who need it.
I think it was the combination of the gorgeous artwork and the story of being bullied and the power of creativity and art. From that moment on, I was hooked on creating stories about similar struggles. Growing up, I was drawn to myths like The Iliad, The Golden Fleece, and everything King Arthur. I would make up stories and draw the illustrations, and then staple all the pages together to make my own books. And I've been writing stories ever since - and anyone who reads them can see what a strong influence mythology has had on my writing.
And yes, I still do own that old book. And I bought another (newer) version for my own kids. And now they're writing stories too.