It’s not hard to imagine a young Dorothy Parker sitting at her Catholic school desk, an arm curled around her paper so the teacher and the girls sitting nearby can’t see what she’s writing (definitely not the assignment).
Or Hunter S. Thompson at his school desk, but without an arm covering his work. Just writing whatever the hell he wants to write.
When I started writing at around twelve years old, it was on my bedroom floor after having read a certain number of magazines with single-page stories on the final page. I decided, “I bet I can do that.” A few hours, three cursive pages, and one or two strikethroughs later, I found the submission address on the back of the magazine and sent in my (absolutely terrible) story.
I don’t remember waiting for a reply, nor being disappointed when nothing came in the mail. What I do remember thinking is, “Woah. I want to do that again.”
Twenty-eight years later (or, about two weeks ago), I’d be sitting behind a laptop in a Barnes and Noble Starbucks and working on book number three when I’d look up and notice the shelves and shelves (and shelves) of books — none of them either of my first two — on the other side of the cafe railing.
How many books, 99% I’d never heard of, were on those shelves?