In the early 1980’s, a group of teachers asked the sixth grade to write and bind a book by hand. I wrote a futuristic thriller about a post-cold-war era, focusing on a special agent who helped safeguard old nuclear weapons. I titled it Nuclear Patrol.
After writing it out in pencil, I chose a cool black cover, shared it with my brother, and stored it away in a trunk.
Decades later, going through the trunk, something struck me. Among newspaper articles I wrote over the years, certificates, journals, letters of detention and love, that first self-published book shined. Here was something that sprang from my soul and told a story. It was as if everything I wrote in the decades after was just preparing me to repeat this assignment those amazing teachers gave me.
I figured with all the modern tools and life experiences, writing and publishing a book should be even easier than it was when I was twelve.
Unfortunately, the opposite was true. As a child, my imagination was an open playground, unrestricted by the quagmire of worldly life. I had to first peel away layers of rigid thinking, clear away long traversed thought-patterns, conquer doubt, swallow pride, and walk by gargoyles of fear through the gates of self discovery. I had to learn to play again.