My Better Half
I can't exactly remember why I ever decided to put pen to paper, but I do remember those who encouraged me to continue doing so over the years.
My sisters have always been amazing in that regard. When I was in my early teens, Jean found some of the mini-books I used to create. I would basically fold a bunch of pieces of paper in half, draw a makeshift cover, and then write a story that only ended when the pages were filled. Instead of mocking me, as older sisters are wont to do, she instead took what little money she had and bought me a glorious old typewriter. I drove that wonderful machine into the ground and still select laptops and keyboards that have a very specific sound when I hit the keys.
In high school, Mr. Butler, my English teacher, once asked me to stay after class. I was a quiet, painfully shy kid who never got into any type of shenanigans, so I was a little scared and baffled at being asked to stay behind. It turns out he had been reading my previous class work and wanted to know how often I wrote outside of school. When I told him that I did it infrequently, he told me to do it more.
Over the years, I have had periods where I wrote prodigiously followed by a lot of barren years where I did little. The desire to write never went away, but my lack of self-belief, which was aided by some unpleasant rejection letters, led me away from the words that I so love to weave. It was love that brought me back to them.
In my wife Penny, I have a partner who has an unfailing belief in everything that I do. She encourages me to write, provides honest feedback, and somehow makes me do things that I would naturally steer clear of. Submitting a finished manuscript to a publisher was one of those things, and while I braced myself for rejection, all she would say was "you'll see." At the grand old age of 51, I am now about to become a published author. That would never have happened were it not for Lady Penelope. She is the eternal morning sunshine in the darkness that exists in my own head. As long as she continues to glow, I'll write by the light and warmth her heart provides.