Early Years My childhood story about how I got started Writing
I got started in the creative arts at a really young age. I can't remember too much when i was really little. In grammar school, I started drawing a lot. I used to draw pictures of my favorite stuffed animal, Bunbun. She was a bunny that I was given when I was one. She had white polka dots and turquoise blue body. She was filled with beanbag material. I threw her in the trash when I was little as I thought she had bumblebees in her. My parents pulled her out of the trash. I also didn't like the sheets that I slept on, because I thought some of the black spots on it were bumblebees. I've got several childhood drawings of bunbun and I started writing little stories about her. I'm sure my first stories were short and sweet. Bunbun went through a lot. When I was little she got tossed up on the grammar school roof by some bullies. That was mean. My mom had to call the janitor to get it down. I used to sleep with Bun bun a lot. She probably was like a security blanket. My sister and I used to play in tents set up on the clothesline. I would have BunBun next to me and we would sew doll clothing. I think I also used to make a Shawn Cassidy doll. I grew up in the disco era. My cousin and I used to create our own radio show on my tape recorder. That was fun. We also used to create tents all over our bedroom. That was a real blast. My kids used to love making tents in the living room.
BunBun also got left in a chimney fire. I was so upset that she was going to turn to charcoal. I also left her places and my parents would turn around and get her. BunBun also had different names. I used to name her Wilma, Pebbles, and Laura from the Little House on the Prairie. My aunt used to insist that she was a boy. I used to argue with her about that. She probably liked to see my reaction.
We used to visit her camp in the summers. That was great. We used to swim in the lake. She was the last camp on the dead end road and she lived right on the lake. We would swim all day. I had a camp friend and we both liked to write. I also loved art. When I was little, I remember doing paint by numbers at camp. We had cousins from New Mexico that would come visit for weeks on end. We used to wish we could stay up there that long. Sometimes our mom would let us stay a few extra days. That was cool.
I would have to say that my first writing interests started in the third grade. In the first and second grade I wanted to be a nurse or the president. That faded really quick. My first writing experience was writing about my autobiography. The book told about my childhood and had photos and drawings in it. I used to like to put funny captions next to the photos. It basically told about all the fun things I did when I was little with cousins and friends. I talked about being a BlueBird and my mom was the BlueBird leader. My mom stayed home with us up until junior high. My nana lived down the street and I have lots of memories of sitting out in our yard listening to mom, nana and neighborhood mothers coming to visit. In those days, everyone stayed home with their children. I lived in Redbank village where there were tons of kids everywhere. Everyone rode their bicycles everywhere. It was great. It was so much fun having grandparents that lived only a few streets away. Relatives and cousins from New York were always staying with them for weeks on end. We were always down there. And my nana was always baking cookies, fudge, pies and cakes. It was great. Sitting down there with hot chocolate. Sleepovers. My three local cousins were always sleeping over. They were the best.
So as I wrote my auto biography, I also would bring BunBun and Olga to school. Olga was a stuffed animal puppy. I had this boy, Tim in my class that started calling me BunBun. The name stuck and people were calling me BunBun all through junior high. And people loved to pull me out of my seat and tickle me. I was glad once that stopped. I was a free girl in high school.
After my autobiography was done in the sixth grade. I began to write other stories. In the fifth grade I had a teacher that I didn't like. Her name was Mrs. Braley. She was an older teacher and she was mean. She doted on all the boys. She used to let them play basketball with a nerf ball dumping it into a trashcan. Then, once she ordered us all to copy a certain book. We spent the weekend copying the stupid book. Then, she pretended that she didn't tell us that and she called up my mom. We spent a little bit in the principals office as Mrs. Braley told my mom that I was in a fantasy land. I never liked her. I think my mom didn't like her either. About half the parents requested that we all have a different teacher the next year. I liked Mr. Prouty much better. He was funny.
Once I got to junior high, I started writing long mystery stories. They usually had about fifty characters in them. One might have been called The Blackmoor mystery. I spent all summer on it and would sit in my nana's kitchen writing it. I've got a picture of one of my cousins reading it. The story got ripped up though. I never kept all that stuff. One year I wrote my own Laugh Magazine. It had drawings of cartoon characters that I made up. I also wrote funny captions for the movies of the time. It was a magazine that made fun of the popular things while I was growing up. I think I was inspired by a Bananas magazine or Mad Magazine. I used to get some magazine in junior high that had pictures of beastly characters showing gross out boogers and things like that. Potty talk, etc...
Once I got to high school, I still wrote short stories and excelled in English and Art. I got all A's in art. So art was going to be the way I was heading after high school. In my last few years of high school, I started writing poetry. I still have that stuff. I have most of the poetry I have written. In college, I wrote lots of poetry. I took a journal writing class and wrote lots of prose. A lot of that is gone. I wrote a short short story about Selena and Thomas that I ripped up. I remembered that story though and have written a hub about it. I also had a crush on my journal writing teacher. I'm sure I dreamed a lot about him.
Once I got married and moved to Vermont, I was a stay at home mom and had four children. Two boys and then two girls. My first daughter was born three days after my mother died of colon cancer. She was fifty one. Too young. It wasn't fair to lose her. She was my icon. She did a wonderful job raising my siblings and I. After she died, I wrote a lot of poetry about her and my roots. My uncle said that it was very poignant stuff. I still have it somewhere and one of these days might put some of it on here.
When my girls were three or four, I started writing my first novel. I had a neighbor that had a son. He was writing a children's book and wanted me to illustrate it. It never happened but it triggered me to write my book. I felt that I had never done it and I bet myself that I could do it. It took me over two years to get the first draft finished. With girls in preschool in mornings and afternoons, they tag teamed me. I had little spurts of time. When I had them home, we were off to neighborhood parks, local libraries, shopping trips etc... blowing bubbles and drawing on the sidewalks. I was always doing crafts with girls. My boys were in school all day. We used to get a big emtpy box and draw on it. Cut out windows and doors. I used to make pretend race tracks for my oldest son when he was little. And I was always baking stuff. I was glad to be a stay at home mom for twelve years. Three years ago I finally went out and got a parttime job at a local clothing store. I enjoy that alot.
So after, two years I finished my first novel, a romance, and I got a local editor to edit it. It needed some work, as it was my first book. She really loved the story within the story. I left the book for a little over a year and kept making my paperdolls. I was creating paperdolls for about five or six years. I've got a really neat Martha Stewart paperdoll set. She's got her witches outfit, statue of liberty and good things. I think I left my book for a long time. I had thought, what if i never get it published. I have also written several other novels or novellas that I have never published. Last year, i finally went back into the first romance novel and began editing it. it has changed a lot since the first copy. Of course, I got through more than half of it and stopped writing it. So one of these years I should go back and finish it. Maybe I will edit the whole thing again. In the first draft, there is a lot of flowery stuff in it. And when I went back into it, some of it didn't make sense and I changed stuff. That is the great thing about editing. You can change things, add stuff and make it completely different if you want.
Last year, I stopped editing it and then wrote my autobiography about my marriage and my divorce. It will be for my kids to read when I'm dead. They shouldn't read it until then. It describes what their father did to me. But I don't want to pit them against their father. We're civil now and are friends. We've got children together. I feel bad for families that are always fighting and their children get caught in the middle of it. But it was good for me to write about what happened. I was a battered woman and it was important for me to document it for myself.
After, I finished with the autobiography, I put it aside. I've got lots of stuff documented along with a not very nice dvd of my day in court for the divorce. It's all tucked away for when they are older and can understand what really happened. His father had wanted to put a video camera in on me as I took care of my girls. I heard him say it, and then he denyed ever saying it, but I know my father n law said that. I was only a few feet away when it got said. Not very nice of him. I still haven't forgiven him. But I am good friends with my ex's mother. We did things different when we had them working on our house. Tools all over the yard, and my girls were little.
In November to December, last year I wrote Black Roses. I hand wrote it and then typed it up in Dec. to January. In February I got the ball rolling and self published.
So that is basically how I got started writing.
If anyone likes paperdolls or knows someone who likes paper dolls, check out my paperdoll post on each of my blogs where my paper dolls are for sale:
http://jenniferpaperdolls.blogspot.com/ The Official Paper Doll Blog