I had a talent for writing and illustrating stories as a pre-schooler. I could not read and write yet so I dictated stories to my mother who typed them on a big black 1930’s Royal on which my father had done casework during the Great Depression. Once I became literate I really got on a roll.
As a shy, insecure, handicapped girl, often feeling alienated and insecure, I was suddenly empowered by creating people, putting them in situations they had to dig out of, and making them do it in the way I wanted them to. My characters went through adventures I was too insecure to attempt, catastrophes, injustice, persecution, angst and all, but were always victorious at the end. – Above all, I was in control! – At first it had all been simply fun. – Soon it became an escape.
I was usually a pleasant enough child from the outside. Class mates signing my “autograph book” (big in the 1950’s) always addressed their salutations to me as a “nice girl”. My parents “complimented” me on not causing them any trouble. My questions, fears, disturbing observations either remained locked inside me or overflowed onto paper in my stories. I rarely risked confrontation or negotiation with another human being (even my parents). I rarely expressed an opinion (though I had many). I did not openly rebel, but did so in the most dramatic ways in the deep dark recesses of my own mind.
After a time I began to feel as though I were enclosed in an invisible case in which I could not be touched and in which nobody could touch me. At first I believed that this case was of my own making and that I could break through it if I suddenly got a strong enough urge to take the risk. Then I realized I could not break out and nobody could break in. Even in the midst of others I was infinitely alone. I sometimes imagined fantasy friends. Movie actors, for instance. Always they were celebrated people I did not know. It gave me an ego boost being with them and I could be who I wanted to be since they did not know me well enough to call my hand.
As an adult I wrote my first long novel. It was set in New York City (of course). It was a big bow-wow book with mazes of interlocking dramatic incidents, emotions, people. They were brilliant, driven, dynamic, tormented, in and out of love and hate, winning, losing, starting over. I found myself wanting to be one of them, even in their bad patches, totally alive, totally enmeshed in the lives of their friends, enemies, and lovers. Self-realized, self-actualized. – It even passed through my mind that if I went to New York, they would be there waiting for me in the places where I had put them. Even though it was I who had created them, they seemed to have lives of theirown (unlike myself). – Something had to be done!