Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Forks in a Writer's Road

Abandoned bike seen on walk, November 2013
"I've always been interested in medicine and was pleased when my brother became a doctor. But after thinking seriously about that field, I realized that what intrigued me was not the science, not the chemistry or biology of medicine, but the narrative--the story of each patient, each illness. --Lois Lowry

I saw this bicycle one day last week while on my walk, and got to wondering about the paths the old bike might have been down, the stories it could tell. Who were its riders who might have felt breezes blow their hair while coasting downhill or gasped for breath going uphill? What forks in the road challenged them to explore--or change direction?

Newbery Award winner Lois Lowry (Number the Stars and The Giver) says she was drawn to writing because of people's stories. But first she considered entering the medical field. Interesting background on a talented writer (she's written over 30 books) showing the fork in the road she faced.

Lowry has also written about how she became a writer: "I was a solitary child, born in the middle of three, who lived in the world of books and my own imagination. There are some children, and I was this kind of child, who are introverts and love to read--who prefer to curl up with a book than to hang out with friends or play at the ball field. Children like that begin to develop a feeling for language and for story. And that was true for me--that's how I became a writer."

How did you become a writer? Did your life's goal start out one way only to change direction? Did you encounter a fork in the road, or did you hop on an imaginary bicycle, close your eyes, and pedal furiously down the road of surprise?

Hmmm, not such a bad idea. Except that maybe we should keep our eyes open...?



  1. I love these author insights that you find, and your additions to them. I never planned to be a writer, nor was I a big reader, either. I came from a culture, and married into a culture of non-readers. Writing isn't the whole world, you know. ;)

    But somewhere along the line, actually, when I was about 33, the idea of becoming a writer took hold in me. I definitely have more of the "writer's personality" than almost everyone in my immediate world. But I am only now treating my writing very seriously. Before, there was too much life to be lived instead.

    1. Cathy, it's interesting the route you took to become a writer :-) You must have been storing up lots of stories in your head while you were busy living life! Opposite of you, I was a reader and loved my childhood books, still have some in a box somewhere. But I didn't dream of writing a book, even though I did start out a journalism major in college, until a story idea came to me I couldn't shake loose. That's when I really got the writing bug. A few detours along the way, but here we are now...

  2. Yes, I'm probably best if I pedal with my eyes open. LOL :) I've always liked to write but never considered being a writer till after my kids were in elementary school. I'm always wondering about people, what their stories are and all that, everywhere I go.

    Have a great weekend!

  3. I've always loved to read. I used to hide out to read when I was supposed to be doing chores, etc. So deep down, I probably always wanted to write. :)

  4. I'm much like her,. I was so shy and could lose myself in books. I started writing when I was in fifth grade and enjoyed sharing my dreams through stories.