mystery: 47/365

In the fall of 1967, I was riding bikes with my best friend, and I stopped beside a mailbox that had its red flag up. For some reason, I opened the mailbox. Nothing. I raced home, my friend right behind me, and we sat together at a picnic table on the deck outside my back door, taking turns writing chapters of our novel. The Mystery of the Missing Letter.

This novel was the only piece of creative writing I did voluntarily until I was 38.

In the spring of 1967, days before my tenth birthday, I had finished Gone With the Wind–my party would be taking three friends to see the movie. I was always a big reader. In elementary school, I kept a plastic index card box full of cards, each one a book I had read. Some time later, I remember wondering why in the world I had kept that box and tossing it.

Before I pulled over to the side of the road at the age of 38, other than these few months in 1967, I had no desire to be a writer.


 365 true things about me
why this daily practice

11 thoughts on “mystery: 47/365

    • It’s funny, Sheila, I don’t think of myself as having a great memory, but the details of that moment stand out to me. I’m curious about your little stories… did you write them in a notebook?


  1. Cynthia… ‘Dear Diary’ was my thing… 🙂 I have kept a few and tossed many.
    And have long wished to write a memoir. Sharing in this daily practice with you…
    may well be the: “1st Chapter…The Story Begins” ~;D


  2. Oh, I just LOVE this anecdote, Cynthia. It’s such a precious memory, and how cool…The Mystery of the Missing Letter 🙂 I’m impressed that you read an adult tome like Gone With the Wind at such a young age! I wouldn’t have even considered it lol I read some middle grade novels, but once I moved into puberty and the whole teenage life, the most I did was write poems except for a short story in Creative Writing (never learned anything in that class, not even the word “revision”). Being a children’s book writer/illustrator was something that had crossed my mind a few times, but that was about it ’til I was in my 20s. Never did much of anything with that desire ’til I became officially disabled in ’92. That’s when I had more flexibility and a friend encouraged me. I was 35 and my true passion was FInally ignited. Not everyone is a passionate writer from their early years 🙂


  3. My older sister talked about being a writer. She wrote lots of poems as a child and started a couple of mysteries. I helped her with one of these starts when I was 10 or so, I think, but other than that I also never thought about being a writer until much later, despite being told all the time (mostly by teachers) that I should try it. The odd thing is that once I did come to the realization that I wanted to write, I found a huge pile of unfinished stories and essays in a closet, a pile that included scribbling from high school through college and grad school and beyond. I’d been carrying that stuff around with me all those years, adding to the pile as I went, but never really noticing that I was doing it. I was stunned. Discovering that pile was the strangest thing I’ve ever experienced, by far. In one of your posts you talk about hiding yourself from yourself, and I commented that I am adept at that, too. That pile–which I was able to discard, once I’d said out loud that I wanted to be a writer and began a practice of writing short stories–was Exhibit A.


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