The Inspiration Behind My Writing

Childhood

 

 

I didn’t grow up with dreams of someday becoming a writer.  I did have a fondness for books though.  In my room there was a small bookshelf with a growing number of titles. I’d usually read them once or twice, and afterwards they’d end up buried beneath the piles of clothes and toys that littered the space that my 2 brothers and I shared.

Admittedly, I was more of a TV guy.

Like many other Gen-Xers, the television was my part-time babysitter.  If I wasn’t outside, which was usually everyday unlike most kids today, then you could find me watching the popular shows of the day.  I promise you, I know just about every shows theme song from the 60s, up until they stopped making them in the 90s.

So, no, I wasn’t really a bookworm then, I was more of a TV head.

 

Books

 

Even though I would’ve preferred to have waited to watch the film or TV adaptation, there were still a few books that made a distinct impression on me.

Classic favorites like:

 

Where the Wild Things Are

 

   Charlotte’s Web

   The Giving Tree

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

 The Snowy Day

 Corduroy

 Billy Jo Jive

 

These books were all in heavy rotation.

 

Writing for Children

 

However, it wasn’t until we had children that I first considered writing my own stories.  By now I was a stay-at-home dad caring for 3 youngsters.  Aside from my many duties as a stay-at-home parent, I began looking for something that would fulfill me personally, in those moments when whining babies and dirty diapers would leave me feeling dispirited.

“Bedtime storyteller,” became part of my job description too.  And as a result of reading picture-books-a-plenty, I became enchanted by them.  The books seemed to make a bigger hit on me as an adult then they did as a kid!

Yet it was the moment that my oldest daughter posed a sobering question, “Dad, why aren’t there any brown characters in the books we read?” that the light bulb finally flicked on in my head.

 

Read more about this by clicking here.

 

Humbled

So here I was in my late 30s/early 40s, at home during the day caring for 3 daughters, in the basement, writing stories that I was unsure that anyone would ever see, about the things I saw my girls engaged in, while my wife was out earning all the dough. (Whew, that was a mouthful).

At that time, it would have been an understatement to say that I WAS NOT fully comfortable with my lot in life.  Actually, it was “a pride-swallowing siege that I will NEVER fully tell you about.”– Jerry Maguire

 

These Brothers Were Doin’ It!

 

Then, a short time later, a remarkable thing happened on a seemingly unremarkable day.  It was Sunday, and we were sitting in a church pew. I was half-heartedly listening to the string of announcements, when the speaker made a statement that almost sent me flying into the church balcony.

Apparently, local children’s book authors Derrick Barnes and Shane Evans where both in the house to promote their latest children’s book projects and would be signing books after service.

     

I was flabbergasted, stunned, and overwhelmed with curiosity.  Here I was just tinkering with the notion of becoming a writer, and right in my midst where two guys about my age, that looked like me, who were already making it happen – these brothers were doing do it!

I was beyond inspired! Here before me stood my once dim aspirations in the flesh.  From then on, I knew what I must do.

 

Last Word

 

 

Several years later, with two independently published children’s books under my belt, (with one on the way this fall) I write this with a small yet powerful sense of accomplishment.  I’ve learned a lot along the way, but mostly, I’ve learned that there’s so much more I need to learn.  I’ve come far since those early days writing those first stories in my basement, but the road is still long.

But I’m armed with the endurance to make that trek.

I want to continue to create books that speak to many of the important issues we wrestle with in society today.  I want to publish books that discuss ideas that some may be afraid to tackle in picture books.  I want members of marginalized communities to see themselves in the books they read. My goal is to keep on writing entertaining books that also help to raise the consciousness of the reader.

And fortunately, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.

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Midweek Post //




 

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