GREETINGS TO MY YOUNGER FRIENDS
In my life as a writer nothing has been more important than learning to read. Growing up in the farm country of Indiana, books enabled me to imagine being somewhere else: sleeping on top of the Egyptian pyramids with Halliburton; trekking through the jungles of India with Corbett; or wandering along the Cornwall coast of England with Merlin and Arthur.
Well, I have kept at it -- my love of words and imagination -- and have now written my own books that may help you imagine being in a place you might not have thought possible. For myself I have now even made it to one of those imagined places of childhood -- Cornwall, England -- and perhaps you will, too, someday, make it to a place only dreamed of now through the invented world of a good book. I do know this, dream or no dream, you will need words to get there.
Some of my books are made from experiences that really happened to me. SNOW COMPANY is the best example. The blizzard that occurs in that story is almost exactly like a blizzard I experienced as a boy in Indiana. Living in West Virginia, whether in the country or close to it in small towns, has been important, too. By keeping me close to much that I recall from my childhood, West Virginia is important because it is the place that has been home ever since I went away to Bethany College in 1969.
It is hard to explain, but I am the kind of writer who needs to know where the woods are and that there are good friends and neighbors near by. Maybe that shows in my work. What do you think?
If you are not sure if you are a writer, don't worry. Just make sure you are a reader -- great oaks from little acorns grow -- and there is not a better acorn going than a book to grow a great life.