I grew up terrified of water. Not all water, tubs, showers and lawn sprinklers were never an issue. But lakes, rivers and the ocean -
When I was growing up, parent’s didn’t give hyperactive kids medication, they gave them spankings. And I got my share of those, but somewhere along the way my parents came up with a more a clever way to calm their wild child:
They’d send me to my room with orders not to come out until I had written a story.
They were working as Teachers at a private school when I was born, and as a result, I learned to read and write before most kids learn to not eat paste. Even skipped a couple grades ahead in English. It was clear way back then, that writing was my “thing.”
Thing is, it’s not much fun to write when you know what you’re really doing is being punished. So I resisted my “thing.” Did other things. Which got me into trouble. And so off to my room I would go to fill my notebook with the requisite number of pages to suit the crime.
Too noisy: 5 pages.
Broken dinner plate: 10 pages.
Swinging cat by the tail: 50 pages.
No siblings (and the fact that we lived in Bumfük) meant that I had lots of imaginary friends. So while my parents (and the cat, who was fine by the way) were enjoying some short-lived peace and quiet, I was writing about cowboys, spacemen, talking animals and other heroes I was forced to create – lost in my imagination, revelling in the control I had over my characters and their destinies.
In hindsight, I’ve come to realize this “punishment” was a tremendous gift. One that drugs might have taken away. And even if I do still have periodic bouts of A.D.D., I’m sure I don’t need Ritalin is it raining I’m hungry I should clean the shower a cup of tea sounds nice to write.