I was in fifth grade the first time I contemplated writing fiction as an avocation. Who didn't at that point? We all sat inside the same warm classroom on a rainy winter day with a writing assignment in front of us. But this was the first time a teacher let us compose a project on any topic we wanted. My mind immediately placed me on another planet. I was free.
While the experience didn't give birth to a writer within, I never forgot how it felt to leave the world behind, if only for the moments I was engrossed in my little world of self-made fiction. It was different than simply going out to play or creating an invisible playmate. A story took planning - it took guts - to place words into the mouths of people living on paper. It was my introduction to the truth that life and action needed purpose if a world was to make sense.
What a terrifying thought.
But worlds sat waiting to be created, nonetheless. And as the years passed and I brought none of them into being, I eventually accepted that I would, one day, have to give in to the urge to wield my woefully under-developed language skills if only for my own amusement. I was fifteen when I sat in a patch of clover with my future wife and admitted that I thought I might have to be a writer one day. She refrained from patting me on the back and offering up the customary platitudes that one might when encouraging another. She had seen my writing.
Years in college chasing a degree in History built my vocabulary, fortunately, and for a time, I experimented with poetry, prose, and narrative fiction. I have none of it any longer. They were all pedantic pieces of garbage worth nothing more than the experience of having created them. But they did serve as proof that my mind had not let go of the writing itch. In the end, what really set my mind on fire again were the children that entered my life. My kids gave me a reason to dream about monsters and heroes again - about the secrets locked up in the universe around us.
The Fall of Never and, indeed, what will become the Never's Tempest Series over the next year or so, is an homage to those secrets that only we can imagine. It may have taken decades of raising children to bring these stories to the written page, but they were each born in that first moment five decades ago when a teacher told me to "imagine a world where..." and let a child fill in the blank.
May peace and adventure encumber your life, just not necessarily in that order.