Stepping into the forest of my mind

Stepping into the forest of my mind
Just as every journey begins with a first step, every story begins with the first word.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Insecure Writers Want to Know: What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular story or person? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?


First, I’d like to wish you all health and success in 2020. Happy New Year, Everyone! I am honored to co-host this month’s question. My gracious co-hosts are T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling WomanReneeScattergood, J.H. Moncrieffand Stephen Tremp

Insecure Writers Support Group offers an excellent opportunity to pitch your stories, if you are ready. You can find details about the #IWSGPit, which is January 15th, here. Good luck, everyone! 

You can also find details about IWSG’s new anthology Voyagers: The Third Ghost here. Congratulations to all the writers included in the anthology! Writers helping other writers. That’s what Insecure Writers Support Group is all about.

Now about our January question, I have always been a storyteller, like my father before me. I love adventure and romance, and I always envisioned myself in the story I read or watched. I was the protagonist, the main character who saves the day and wins her man. And I always did it with style. But getting it all on the page and hoping others would like the story? Well let’s just say this is why I’m part of Insecure Writers Support Group.  
http://victoriamarielees.blogspot.com/


             When I was growing up, my father would tell wild tales of adventure in our patio to me and my siblings and any neighborhood kid who hung around. We’d wait until dusk. He’d light a candle on the picnic table and begin his fanciful tale. The characters were whoever came to listen to the story. It didn’t need to make sense. His baritone voice kept us rapt on his every word wondering what would happen next.

            Because of my father, I took to telling my own children stories, but my stories would be based on anecdotes. It started when we went camping as a family. You can find many of our adventures on Camping with Five Kids

In the evening, sitting around the campfire, I’d tell the children stories. And they would ask for the same stories based on the same anecdotes. Then I started the “what if” stories. These were not actual happenings. These were pure fiction. My children liked those as well, and I started to think maybe I should try my hand at actually publishing these stories.  

            As you know, many of my short stories are based on adventures my family and I have had camping around this beautiful country of ours. But to make them worthwhile for others—and to keep within word count—I had to ditch the parents and any extraneous character and cut the time frame.

Right now I’m working on an adventure in the Adirondack Mountains where a teen and his younger sister are taking their first hike without their father who died in a car accident. It’s a familiar hike, but they’re both grieving. *Internal struggle* One external struggle is the younger sister keeps comparing her older brother [protagonist] with their father. Then I include a flash thunderstorm at the peak of the mountain, a flooded trail that takes them off course. Now there’s a swift river they need to cross on huge narrow boulders. And their mother is waiting for them at the foot of the trail. No cell service in the forest. I’m trying to get the pacing right, so feel free to offer comments or ask any questions on this. Thanks!   

I’m at the beginning of another short story that deals with an allergic reaction and the use of an EpiPen.
Does anyone have information as to what truly happens in an allergic reaction to a bee sting? 
Does anyone have any experience with using EpiPens?
Do you know of a reputable site to reference to help me learn about allergic reactions or EpiPens?

I’ll be interested to see how you’ve tackled this month’s question. It’s great having a topic to share our thoughts on each month. I am extremely thankful for all of you for being my sounding board and advisors in this writing and publishing game.

Thanks so much for visiting! Please follow Adventures in Writing if you haven’t already and connect with me online. Leave your blog link in your comment so I can be sure to do the same for you.

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month.  To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.  


90 comments:

  1. Hi Victoria - to answer where the writing came from ... I needed to learn more about the internet - someone suggested blogging: a group of us started together ... I'm still going strong.

    My mother was terminally ill for over 5 years and during that time I needed to be around a lot, but I needed to have something positive to keep my brain happy - so the blog began - from writing letters out about my mother, and then getting replies saying how positive my letters were - hey presto ... a blog name.

    I can quite see where your stories came from ... and great they're being kept for your children for future reference ... cheers and here's a very happy 2020 - Hilary

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    1. Yes you are still going strong, Hilary! And I enjoy every post. Neat how your blog got its name. I never knew. You mother was truly blessed to have you taking care of her, my dear. My mother had cancer for about 5 years before it finally won. I took care of her at the end of life and I would do it again.

      Thank you for your kind words about my stories. I will always write and hope to publish. It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your week!

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  2. That story in the mountain sounds tense. Storms raging inside and out.
    Cool you developed your father's knack for storytelling.

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    1. Thank you so much, Alex. I truly appreciate your kind words. Yes, storms are raging inside and out in my YA mountain story. Well said!

      It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your comment. And thanks for letting me cohost the IWSG question for a new year. Enjoy your week!


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    2. My pleasure, Alex! Thank you for allowing Adventures in Writing to be a part of IWSG. Enjoy your day!

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  3. That's awesome you have such good memories of your dad telling you stories. I also put myself in stories or shows I watched as a kid. Good luck with your new story.

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  4. Thank you, Natalie! It's nice to know others put themselves into stories or movies they read or watch. And thanks for your good wishes. I need them. I need to finish up this story and move onto the next.

    It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your week!

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  5. I love that your children inspired your stories. My husband and I used to tell storied to our daughter featuring one character. I wish we'd written them down.

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    1. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Liza! This is where the difficult part in writing comes in. Try to remember back and get the gist of your story. Don't worry if it isn't exact. Just build on what you remember. Maybe your daughter can help you remember what happened in the stories.

      Thanks so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful weekend!

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  6. I love how storytelling is a family thing - you got it from your father and you tell stories to your children as well. The story about the kids hiking sounds really interesting. I can imagine how scary things get with that storm and not having cell phone reception.

    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Ellen! I'm so glad you're here. Thank you for your kind words. I truly appreciate them. It is my pleasure to co-host this month's question for IWSG. Have a beautiful week!

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  7. Hi Victoria, thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month. Family stories and storytelling are the best. My twin sons have both had reactions to wasp stings. The doc said that there are more than 20 stinging insects and they might allergic reactions to some, but not all. They carry epipens in case they have a severe reaction. The milder reaction was systemic, like a rash, but then their eyes got red. A severe reaction would cause their throats to close. I'd contact a Allergist for more detailed info, or a pharmacist on the use of epipens.
    My January IWSG post http://bit.ly/2QCydHH

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    1. Thank you so much for this, Mary! How old were your sons when they could "carry" and administer their own epipens? Did the doctor show them how to administer the epipen? I'll check with a pharmacist or allergist's office. Thanks for these great tips. I have twin girls, by the way.

      Thank you, thank you for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. And thanks for providing your link. I'll be over shortly to read and comment. Have a beautiful weekend!

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  8. I loved hearing about your dad being being a great storyteller and inspiring you.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you for your kind words here at Adventures in Writing. I truly appreciate them. And thanks for your link. I'll visit soon! Have a beautiful day!

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  9. I think it's marvellous that yours is another dad-story. He sounded like a wonderful father, and I loved hearing about him. I'm relating so much to your story.

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    1. He was, Joylene! Thank you for your kind words. They are appreciated more than you know. Thanks so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful weekend!

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  10. Victoria, thank you for co-hosting! This is the 2nd post where a father is a great storyteller. How awesome!!

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    1. My pleasure for co-hosting, Cathrina! I can't wait to read everyone else's post this month. Thanks so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful week!

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  11. I do have allergies, and an Epipen.
    What a serious reaction is like - at first, I just absently start scratching. At that point, the skin is mildly irritated, and itchy. Often, I am not aware of something being wrong.
    Then, when I realize that it's more than just dry skin, I look. And, sure enough, I'll have hives starting up. They're just red blotches at first, but quickly become raised and sometimes look like small blisters.
    I may clear my throat a lot - that's the part when I experience the swelling in the trachea. Usually, not that bad, but it can be. And, that's why a trip to the ER is essential. You just don't know, and minutes can matter.
    IF I either have a liquid antihistamine, or an Epipen, I use it. Not always available. The liquid med works almost as well as the pen; you have to take a dose, wait 10-15 minutes, and if not better, add another dose. Usually does the job without having to go to the ER.
    After an episode, I'm exhausted.
    The worst episode I had was at home by myself. I REALLY swelled up - I looked like my entire body had been stung by bees (after an injected antibiotic). I should have called an ambulance, but the house was a mess, and I was embarrassed to have people see it.
    I know, I know - stupid, right? But I also wasn't thinking clearly at that time.
    Once the attack is over, symptoms generally disappear quickly (maybe 45 minutes to a few hours).
    I used to enjoy hiking, but I'm not as adventurous as I was as a kid. The possibility of a major attack, far from medical assistance is terrifying.

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    1. Oh. My. Gosh, Linda! This is terrifying! Thank you, thank you for sharing this insight and information with me.
      So the big thing is the swelling of the trachea that triggers the use the epipen, right?
      Linda, after an episode and the symptoms disappear, do you need to see a doctor as a rule or only if you still feel sick?
      I understand the exhaustion part, but that doesn't require a doctor visit, or does it?

      Again, I can't thank you enough for sharing this valuable information with me here at Adventures in Writing. Truly, truly appreciate it. All best to you!

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  12. What a wonderful dad! My inspiration was my mother with her insistence that reading and education would open any door. Weren't we lucky?! Thanks for co-hosting this month!

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    1. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Nancy! Thank you for your kind words for my dad. I agree with your mother. Reading and education can open doors. We most certainly were lucky!

      Thank you for commenting here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful day!

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  13. Love the image of you all gathering around your father at the patio table with the lit candle!

    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. Thank you, Madeline! I appreciate your kind words. And thanks for your note here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful day!

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  14. I love that you picked up storytelling from your dad. Camping and telling stories around light in the darkness just brings up all sorts of wonderful images.
    Thanks for co-hosting this month!
    https://tyreanswritingspot.blogspot.com/

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    1. Hi Tyrean! Thanks for your kind words here at Adventures in Writing. Imagery is important in story, I think. Thanks so much for your link. I'll be over shortly to read and comment. Have a beautiful day!

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  15. There's something deeply satisfying about sharing stories around a fire--probably because our ancestors did that as far back as there were humans. Thanks for sharing your origin story!

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    1. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Sadira! I so agree. I love stories around a fire, whether at a campsite or a fireplace inside the home. Yes indeed, my "origin story."

      Thank you for commenting here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful day!

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  16. Generational story telling seems to be a common thread amongst those who like to write or tell tales. Your experience was very similar to my own. My mother told me stories, I told my kids stories, and I have no doubt that my daughters regularly tell their kids stories.

    Surprisingly I've never been stung by a bee in my nearly 70 years on Earth. When I was younger I used to even catch bees in jars a lot, but not once did I ever get stung. Maybe insects don't like the way I taste. I rarely get bothered by mosquitoes either. But then again I am pretty evasive when it comes to bugs. I do my best to avoid being bitten or stung.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Hi Arlee! Okay so you're a brat, never getting bit by a bug. Wouldn't that be nice? Besides staying indoors, what tips can you offer to avoid being bit by a bug, Arlee?

      I always appreciate your notes here at Adventures in Writing. Have an awesome day!

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  17. It's wonderful that your father planted the seeds for your own writing journey. And what an imaginative story-telling tradition. Good for you to carry it on with your own children. Those stories are priceless.

    Thanks for co-hosting today!

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    1. Yes I believe stories are priceless, Lee! I'm very lucky. Thanks for your kind words here at Adventures in Writing. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  18. I love storytellers, as different from novelists. You sound like that quintessential storyteller who winds a tale filled with emotion and intrigue that has readers clutching the book and tearing through pages.

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    1. Gosh wouldn't that be nice, Jacqui? Thank you so much for your kind words here at Adventures in Writing. I so hope they come true. Have a beautiful day!

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  19. Happy New Year!
    There was an older man who used to visit my grandmother and he would tell stories. We children would sit around the pot-bellied stove captivated.
    Thank you for co-hosting and have a great start in the new decade.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words here at Adventures in Writing, Pat. I truly appreciate them. I LOVE listening to older people tell stories. I give writing workshops at a local assisted living residence twice a month and enjoy those people so much.

      Thank you for your note at Adventures in Writing. Have a wonderful day!

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  20. Try Googling 'anaphylaxis'. That should help. :-)

    Hope your year will be filled with warmth and success.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. What a good idea, Anna! Thanks so much. And thank you for your good wishes here at Adventures in Writing. I appreciate them. All best to you, too!

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  21. That's awesome you picked up story telling from your dad.

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    1. Isn't it, though? Thanks so much, Patricia, for visiting Adventures in Writing. It's greatly appreciated. Have a great day!

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  22. I always enjoy reading your Camping Blog. I learn so much there too!

    My friend in high school had an Epi-pen for bee stings. Luckily, we never had to use it. She did show us the process, but it's been a long time since then. I have practiced using one. We use to practice on grapefruits at the daycare I worked at back in the day. It's been a while since I did this so I'm not sure if things have changed. I know they now have auto-injectors. I don't know more than that.

    Great post!

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    1. Thank you for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing, Michelle. I truly appreciate your kind words. I'm glad you enjoy reading my Camping with Five Kids blog. I like sharing my experiences, hoping they help other families.

      "Auto-injectors"? Interesting. From what I'm learning these Epi-Pens are very important to people who have allergic reactions. It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Have a great day!

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  23. It seems to be a common element, the passing down of story-telling. I think it's a sweet way to connect and continue the best parts of a family. Thanks for co-hosting today!

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    1. I think it's a great way to connect and continue the best parts of family, too, S.E. Thank you so much for your note at Adventures in Writing. Have a wonderful day!

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  24. Love that you're a storyteller. I used to tell my children bedtime stories where they were the heroes. As they got older, they would chime in and make up part of the story.
    As a PE teacher, I was trained to use an epi pen and had to use one once. I'm not an expert. You can find stuff online. But personally, it's terrifying to watch the person's allergic reaction and terrifying to use the pen. Many older students were trained to stick themselves.

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    1. Oh, the children always need to be the heroes, Susan. Yes, on our many family camping trips, as the kids got older, they added to our stories as well.

      I believe it would be terrifying to watch someone have an allergic reaction. I would assume the older students would need to carry the EpiPen with them at all times, especially in gym class or if you went outside. Right?

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience here at Adventures in Writing. Have a wonderful day!

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  25. Your dad was awesome! Thanks for sharing a part of your life with us.

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    1. I think Dad was awesome, Jennifer! Thanks for your kind words here at Adventures in Writing. Have a wonderful day!

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  26. I thin k it's great that your father told stories. Sounds like so much fun. Thanks for co-hosting today.

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    1. Thank you, Beverly. Thanks for your kind words here at Adventures in Writing. Have a great day!

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  27. I could picture your father telling his stories to rapt kids on that patio! How wonderful to have had that time and been inspired to carry on the storytelling tradition.

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    1. Absolutely, Lee! Thank you so much for your comment at Adventures in Writing. Have a wonderful day!

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  28. Happy New Year to you too! I can just imagine your father spinning yarns over a candle. How lovely that you too told your children stories and moved from telling them orally to writing stories. All the best for your short stories and thank you for hosting the IWSG this month.

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    1. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Kalpana! Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, I am truly lucky to be a storyteller like my father before me.

      I appreciate your comment at Adventures in Writing. Have a marvelous day!

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  29. My brother is allergic to bees. He would get major local swelling then start having trouble breathing. Once he got stung on his upper lip, and that whole area swelled up and into his sinuses. That didn't help the breathing issues! I'm not allergic, so can't say what it all feels like. Good luck with your stories!

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    1. Shannon, thank you so much for this! These are the details that I need to know for my story. I truly appreciate your sharing this insight here at Adventures in Writing. Have a great weekend!

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  30. I used to envision myself in the stories, too! Thanks for co-hosting.

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    1. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Debra! Thank you so much for your comment. I loved feeling like I was the hero of any story I read or movie I watched. Have a great weekend!

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  31. Thanks for co-hosting. I had an anaphylactic reaction once. Scary afterward. First, I was itchy (like with hives) then hot. It was winter, wearing a coat in the grocery store. Took off coat and still hot. My lips swelled (but not my throat, thank goodness). Urgent Care was closer than the ER. The doc told Hubs if the symptoms returned don't drive to the ER. (And I'm thinking what???). Then he finished. Call an ambulance. I have an EpiPen but never had to use it. Definitely exhausted afterward. Good luck on your story.

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  32. I truly appreciate your insight here at Adventures in Writing, Diane. Seriously, this is totally helpful to my story. Your experience is definitely scary to be sure. Very generous of you to offer your experience to me.

    Thank you again for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. I wish you all the best in 2020.

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  33. Great post. Thank you for sharing. My family told lots of stories as well. Partly because we didn't have a T.V. most of the time. Thank you for co-hosting. Happy IWSG!

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    1. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Adrienne! Thank you so much for your kind words. This is what made our camping trips so wonderful: no T.V. Stories were our entertainment.

      My pleasure to co-host IWSG's January question. Thank you again for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Have a great weekend!

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  34. What a gift to have your father gather you all for stories like this. Very, very cool. He surely passed on his love of story by his example. I think one reason I finally began to write was similar to one of yours. I used to see myself in every story I read or watched, changed what I didn't like, or added to where I felt more was needed. :) Wishing you a wonderful new year!

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    1. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, S.A.! Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, I used to edit out the parts of the story I didn't want to be in and add what I thought was a better way to do something just like you.

      Thank you for your good wishes here at Adventures in Writing. Have a great weekend!

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  35. Sounds like storytelling is a bit of a family tradition :-) Thanks for co-hosting! @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

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    1. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Samantha! Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, I think storytelling is a family tradition.

      Thank you for your link. I'll visit soon! I appreciate your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Have a great weekend!

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  36. What a cool thing for you day to do for you kids. My friends use ask me to make up tales to tell them so I get the fun in verbal storytelling. Congrats on all your new projects. I'm a little late making the rounds. Happy IWSG!

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  37. No worries, Juneta. It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Verbal storytelling is fun, but now that I know so much more about writing stories, sometimes I feel pressure to make it a good verbal story right away.

    Thanks for your kind words at Adventures in Writing. Have a great weekend!

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  38. That's so awesome how your dad would tell you stories. With my dad it was music, and I did go down that road for a while, but I couldn't get past my love for telling stories.

    As for the bee sting? My mom was allergic to bees and if she was stung she'd go into full on anaphylactic shock. Her whole body would swell and she couldn't breathe. It's kinda horrifying to watch. They didn't have epipens back then though, so I'm not sure about those.

    My Writing Journey: https://reneescattergood.com/iwsg-my-writing-journey-origin-story-amwriting/

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  39. Renee, I think music is story! The good songs tell a story or a desire. Thank you so much for providing your link. I'll visit shortly.

    And thank you for offering information about a bee sting here at Adventures in Writing. I was seriously considering an allergic reaction to a bee sting for my story. All the best in 2020!

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  40. Your stories sounds wonderful. I love seeing how people react to nature's many faces. Happy new year!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Jacqui. They are truly appreciated. And thanks for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Have a great week!

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  41. Thank you for co-hosting this month! Funny you should ask about allergic reactions and epi-pens, because my newly drafted novel deals with just that (peanuts, not bee sting), and I did a lot of research. Of course, I didn't keep notes of where I went, but I did a lot of googling, and this article was really helpful in knowing what it feels like: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/time-nuts-almost-killed. CDC info on the epi pens and allergies was also useful.

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    1. Thank you so much for this, Rebecca! I really appreciate it. I'll check out the article and the CDC. Great idea! All the luck with your new novel.

      Thank you for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Have a great week!

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  42. It feels wonderful and totally organic that your writing has its roots in your storytelling to your children, and your father's storytelling before that.
    Thanks for co-hosting this month.

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    1. Thank you, Olga! I appreciate your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Have a great week!

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  43. Thanks for co-hosting this month, Victoria. I hope you get a lot of responses and useful information to your questions. Again, I can’t offer much insight. But, I love how your father also had a positive influence in your life! :-)

    Sad but true... telling stories in person is so much easier than sharing them on paper, in print, or online. So many times, we have people’s eyes open and jaws drop as they are fixated on our life’s stories. Yet, when writing about them, I don’t get that same reaction and sense as when telling them! I guess that’s why writing is called a craft. :-)

    You are doing great and it is so helpful that life experiences form the foundation of your stories. You’ll never run out of ideas or story lines!

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    1. Write what you know, or write what happened. Then ask, "what if it happened this way?" I think when telling stories in person, we unconsciously add a flourish in our speaking, in our body language that engages people. It's more difficult to add that same flourish to our prose.

      It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your week!

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  44. Thanks for co-hosting, Victoria! I hope that you had lots of fun visiting members. How awesome that you grew up with a father telling stories. Various adult members of my extended childhood family loved to tell stories, especially around a bonfire. Such times are very special. Wishing you success with your writing in 2020!

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    1. I'm so lucky to cohost! Yes, I enjoyed visiting everyone. It does take time, though. And lucky you to have "childhood family" who loved to tell stories. Dad's brother and sister were good story tellers, too.

      Thank you for your kind wishes here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your week!

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  45. Thanks for co-hosting and Happy 2020!

    Unlike you my love for storytelling was not passed down from a family member. But I wished she was. Ever since I read Little Women I wanted to have sisters like Jo March. If it was possible I would’ve liked to be a March sister myself just to be next to Jo. It was because of Jo and her love of storytelling that I became a bookworm and then a writer.

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    1. Good for you, Lidy! Little Women is a great book. Did you ever see The Waltons television show? Johnboy Walton was an older teen writer, telling his family's story growing up during the depression.

      Bookworms make the best writers, I think, Lidy. Thanks so much for your note here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your week!

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  46. Love your enthusiasm -- and the story about how you became a storyteller. When I was young, my grandfather told similar tales about his life as a cowboy around the campfire. I still remember his favorite about how a bear tried to get into his tiny camper by scraping his claws up and down the window, while my grandmother huddled inside, terrified! Keep writing! Happy New Year!

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  47. Wow, a cowboy! How exciting, Beth! We've seen bear on the trail while Camping with Five Kids, but a bear never tried to come into our tent camper. That must have been terrifying.

    Thanks so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your week!

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  48. Sounds like storytelling runs in the family. What a fun childhood! I don't know anything about epi-pens except that they're expensive :)

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    1. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Gwen! Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, I think storytelling is a family tradition.

      I appreciate your stopping by Adventures in Writing. Have a great week!

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  49. Your adventure short stories sound like they are loads of fun to read -- and write! Good luck with getting them across that river.

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  50. Thanks, Ronel! I truly appreciate your kind words here at Adventures in Writing. And thanks for your good wishes. Have a great week!

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