Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What made you write that first story?

What made you write your first story? Was it a dream? Did your characters keep yammering away in your mind demanding their story be told?

I guess the first story I ever wrote was for my mother. A heart transplant recipient, mother’s health was always rocky. Unfortunately, the anti-rejection drugs that kept her precious new heart acceptable to her body eroded away the strength of her bones.

Her bones were quite brittle and shattered worse then they should’ve when she wrecked her van on the way to church that day. They flew her out to the hospital where she’d received her heart transplant. Twenty-five years ago, they hadn’t done many heart transplants and I believe she was number eleven. I don't remember the number for sure. She's been gone over twelve years now. That's the number I remember.

The doctors and nurses at the hospital were wonderful…EXCEPT for the orthopedic surgeon. He walked into the room, never made eye contact, never spoke to my mother or the family…cold, calculating, no nonsense, strictly by the numbers. I don’t think he even knew any of us were in the room. He looked at the chart, glanced at my mother’s prone form, spun on his heel and left the room. I shrugged it off since it was the first visit. I was sure the man was swamped. Tomorrow would be better.

Tomorrow wasn’t any better. He was a brilliant surgeon but when he checked on her the following day he reduced her to tears. I blocked the door and asked the man his prognosis. His face darkened, he was obviously angered that I had the audacity to stop the Orthopedic God. He jerked his head toward her bed and told me her bones were mush and would I please step aside he had other patients to see.

So, that’s when I sat down and wrote my mother the story about the dreaded Orthopod Ogre and how he was eventually beheaded due to his inflated pride. This time, she cried from laughter. Somehow, the floor nurse and the hospital social worker ended up with copies too. I swear I didn’t send them.

So, what prompted you to write your first story? Was it a vision or a dream?