I was asked when I started writing seriously. I have to confess it was long ago. I was six and had just learned how to form the letters. I wanted to be a poet, so I wrote:
The flower grows and grows
And so it goes.
Something like that, for it was in Hebrew, my native tongue. I think it’s improved a bit in translation.
My parents had a close friend who was a more or less famous poet. Well, at least he was published and we had his books. So when I heard he was coming for a visit, I sat with my notebook in front of the door, waiting for him, so I could show him my poetry.
The published poet gave my poems serious consideration. It exceeded the consideration I have gotten from most slush piles since. But the verdict was the same. In fact, he went one further. “I don’t think you should be a poet,” he said.
And this is my excuse for rarely writing poetry. But he didn’t say anything about writing stories, so I continued to write those for many years. I did this until I reached that strange age, the age where nothing you do seems good enough. Then I stopped.
But time didn’t stop, and finally I reached another age, where getting anything done seems miraculous. I started writing again, and this time I was thinking about sharing my writing with people I didn’t know personally.
Writing for publication is a much more disciplined sort for me. But in a way it connects all the way back to a six year old girl, sitting on a door step, waiting for her reader.