Cloudy with a chance of a best seller

Cloudy with a chance of a best seller

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a meteorologist.
Yes, I wanted to be a weather man — not the dude in front of the camera who regurgitates the forecast. No. I wanted to be the guy behind the scenes who studied the patterns, the cold fronts, the warm fronts, the high-pressure systems and the low-pressure storms, the isobars. I wanted to be the guy who chased the tornado and flew into the eye of the hurricane.
I tracked the temperature three times a day, jotting my observations into a notebook. I was the only 8-year-old I knew who could tell the difference between a cumulous and a cirrus cloud. Heck, I was the only 8-year-old I knew who actually knew those terms.
Then something funny happened. It was a simple school project: write a short story. It could be about anything. Cowboys. Super heroes. Aliens. Then put a cover on it and bind it using string.
My imagination was captured. I wrote a science-fiction story, of course, about aliens. I wrote about an astronaut on a mission to Venus, complete with self-drawn illustrations. The plot was clumsy — the evil, dastardly Venusian was defeated by shooting out the ladder to his space ship so he couldn’t escape. The writing simple, but it struck a chord with the teacher and she entered into a contest.
It won. Imaginative, they said. Well-written, the judges opined. Funny and adventurous, they observed.
I wasn’t going for funny, but as I look back at it now, it was hilarious in the fact it was written by a 8-year old who saw the world — very universe — in very black-and-white, simplistic terms. And it worked.
And I was hooked on writing.
Instead of scribbling down temps into that notebook, I began scribbling down stories.
I wanted to be a writer.
I wrote my first novel when I was 16. It was not very good — the plot was clumsy; the writing simple. But I was able to experiment and find my voice.
Often I wonder what would have happened had I not done that school project and wrote about the “Venusians?” I probably would be flying into a hurricane right now.
Sure, that would be super cool, but I get to create crazy situations like that every day on paper.
Hopefully, the forecast for my writing career is sunny.