Eight months ago, while visiting a wonderful group of girls in a local youth academy, one of them upon learning that I was about to be published, expressed to me that her greatest desire was to write a book that she could someday see in print. Immediately my mind rushed back to Richfield High school in central Utah to my days in Mrs. Potter's AP English class. It was there, hearing her break down American classics, poetry, and our own essays that my desire to write my own book began.
It was a time when few families living in rural Utah had typewriters, and personal computers were less than a twinkle in our brilliant inventors minds, leaving me with only a pen and notebook as tools to begin my ambicious project. Kid, the main character in Search For Yesterday, was at that time in my imagination, a small child, similarly left to fend for himself after mobs killed his family and destroyed his home. From that starting point, I envisioned him making an improbable journey west, frought with danger, lonliness, innocent humor and grand adventure, planing to segment his story into several successive books as he grew in age and stature.
At least three times over the five years that followed graduation, I put my pen to paper, resigned to complete my goal, however each time, I found the same obsticle blocking my way. Though my desire was real enough, and my ability and committment strong, I found that I lacked sufficient life experience from which to draw believable subject matter to build my story. Interesting personalities were also a critical ingredient for creating enough diversity in my characters to stand up to the skrutiny of educated readers, and I simply didn't have those ingredients. That I couldn't with focused observance, research, and enough elbow grease, eventually gather what I lacked, is not at all what I believe, but somewhere in the trying, life got in the way, and it wasn't until nearly thirty years later, that things changed for me.
The more I think about my experience, seeing the success of young writers from all walks of life, I believe that any of you artists, if you are willing to actively search, study and record society, nature, philosophy, science, and yourselves, can effectively gather the things I lacked, even if you are young and inexperienced in life. Then again, if like me, life's necessary committments take you away from your passion for a time, my hope for you, like the young lady in the girls home and so many others that have approached me since then, is that you will stay after it! Keep your dream flickering inside, and when your moment arrives, sieze it. It's an awesome, exhillerating experience, just seeing the kinds of things you can produce. Good Luck, and don't ever give up.