Most children start to utter their first words around ten months; some as early as four or five. But not me. I fell way behind the curve. At first my parents thought I was simply going to be a late bloomer. Then they thought that something might be wrong. Why doesn’t he say anything, they thought? Then, one day around the age of three, I started speaking in full sentences. Maybe it was because I was a bit of an introvert, a thinker, or maybe I thought using a single word to convey my thoughts insufficient. Or perhaps I was just looking for a better way to express myself and my burgeoning imagination.
My younger sister, two years my junior, I’m told used to speak for me. Even today she’s the talkative one, always capable of expressing herself vocally, while I’m a man of few words. It’s no wonder that my wife often speaks for the both of us.
In Kindergarten I first learned to write, and as soon as I did, I began writing stories. Writing became a way for me to get my thoughts out and to harness my imagination; to put it to a single purpose. I loved books and reading. In fact, I used to memorize all the books my mom would read to me. And my father told me he’s not surprised I still love writing; apparently during the third grade I would copy word for word books I liked. But I loved storytelling even more.
If I hadn’t been so shy and introverted, I might have gone into movies. I used to dress up as a super hero and come up with stories that I’d act out with my sister. Apparently it was one of my favorite things to do. Here’s a picture of me and my sister, Amy, wearing blankets as capes and one of me dressed up as Superman.
So you see, I was born to write. I’ve questioned that notion many times in my life, especially after college, when I lost my confidence and became depressed. It seemed no one was interested in reading my stories, and I thought perhaps it was because my writing wasn’t any good. Maybe I just wasn’t cut out to be a writer.
This is something I think most writers struggle with, perhaps until they make it big, or at least make it. Whenever I have writer’s block, or when everything I seem to write I hate, or if I have a bad day at critique group and feel as if I were verbally lambasted, those feelings of self-doubt creep back again. But writing isn’t for the weary or the weak-hearted. It’s tough. It takes years, even decades to produce something worthwhile, and I’m determined to stick with it, because most of all I love telling stories. I’m a writer at heart.
When I was eight years old, I wrote a story about a giant ladybug. It was the earliest story I wrote that my parents kept, or at least the earliest that managed to survive throughout the years. My mother told me, “I think the ladybug one was on of your first. It’s hard to distinguish because you were always writing stories from the time you learned to write and there’s so many, it’s all a blur.
My father thought it odd that he kept this particular story. “What is not odd,” he said, “Is that Chris took on a love for writing fantasy. He always had a great imagination; play times at the park would turn into some great adventures, and Amy was always a good sport to play along. Perhaps, I kept this original so that he could see the beginning of an epic writer. Most likely I kept it because I liked the story.”
Even then you could see that I was cut out to be a fantasy writer. I was a creature fanatic. I loved monsters and the chimerical; things just slightly out of the ordinary. Why imagine everyday stuff, when you can think about the wildly fanciful and the unreal?
I think that’s why I fell in love with role-playing games, particularly video game R.P.Gs. It wasn’t just the monsters, the cool weapons and the magic. It was also the leveling up, the grinding. Slowly getting stronger and earning more skills and abilities. And some of the writing and storytelling in these games was phenomenal. Writing is a lot like “grinding” in an rpg, the slow laborious process of getting experience points in order to gain levels. Not everyone can do it.
So without further ado, here’s The Biggest Ladybug in the World. And yes, I went by Davy as a child (I’ve tried to forget it, but things or people keep reminding me). Apparently Chris was difficult for me to say or pronounce, so I went with my middle name, changing David to Davy. In the story you’ll notice some missing punctuation and quotation marks for speakers, and there’s some misspellings of words, like “are” instead of “our”. But cut me some slack. After all, I was only eight.