November 6th, 2008

Can you go back?

I just spent four days in my childhood home. I feel the ghosts of me everywhere. This is the bedroom where I used to tell my five-years-younger sister elaborate stories about how Santa Claus whisked you off in a space ship to Mars on your 10th birthday. Here is the hall where I used to sneak out and read when I really was supposed to be sleeping. Here is the living room where we used to put our Christmas tree, and where most years I asked for nothing but books. Here is the yard where I once sold rocks dug from the dirt road to the neighbor kids (to their mothers' consternation). The rocks themselves were ordinary - it was the tales I told about how they were really jewels or evidence that giants had once roamed the land that made kids want to buy them.

If you had told me then that I would make a living telling stories, writing books, I wouldn't have believed you. Being a writer was as impossible as traveling on that spaceship.

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