Dear Readers and Writers,
I am no different than any other writer in that the desire to write came to me after my desire to read. It is the reading that saturates the imagination with vast possibilities. Not just the possibility of creating a story, but with the possibility of holding a book in your hand that has your name printed on the cover.
In school I was a library helper. I shelved books and you can probably guess that the G section was my favorite. I would walk my fingers across the spines of the G authors until I came to my slot with GALDONE on one side and GEORGE on the other. I could imagine my book, with my last name fitting on the shelf between those two authors. Every school day I would pass that G shelf and imagine my book, with my name on it, proudly reaching out at me.
Of course, when you are young, it is easy to imagine a book with your name on it, but as I grew older I realized a bit of effort was going to go into the construction of a book. So I bought a small black writing journal and on the spine I took a pen knife and carved my last name into the black cover. I wasn’t sure what to title the book and so I didn’t. After a while I just called it my “Black Book.” I took that book everywhere. I wrote very unorganized stories in it. But I did have an eye for the odd moment. I saw my dog eaten by an alligator. I wrote about it in my Black Book. I saw an airplane crash in my neighborhood. I wrote it down. I broke my brothers arm—three times! I wrote it down. And I kept filling up the Black Book. And when it was full of odds and ends and bits and pieces of stories I made a fake library call number and pasted it on the spine of my book. I glued a card pocket on the inside back cover and slipped a Date Due card inside. Then I carved my title on the spine: JACKS BLACK BOOK. When no one was looking I went to the book shelf and slipped it between GALDONE and GEORGE.
Each day I would pass it in the library. Weeks went by. It didn’t move. Then one day it was gone! I was thrilled.Close Letter