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My First Book

photo of first book

I wrote my first book in third grade, a novel, titled The Orange that Was Orange. Once I learned how to read, I was so taken by books that I just had to write my own.

By fifth grade, I had written 10 books. Some of them were written by hand with different colored inks so that you knew which character was talking. I then began to mass produce my books in elementary school, typing them on a typewriter (which was a slow process since I did not know how to type) with carbon paper in between the pages. If I thought highly of you, you received a book made from one of the top pages. If I figured you wouldn’t read my book, I gave you a copy with the barely visible bottom pages.

My sixth-grade teacher tried to funnel my writing energy into a class project. He suggested our classroom create an all-school newspaper called The Weekly Blab. I was disappointed when he didn’t appoint me editor, but he made me head writer and interviewer and soon I was asking first graders about their favorite food and favorite pet and writing other similar cutting-edge elementary-school stories.

Fortunately, I had parents who were happy to buy me lots of paper, carbon paper, and different-colored ink to keep me busy, and I also had great public school teachers who encouraged me to write.

For me, writing has always been in my blood. I need to write, just like I need to breathe, eat, and get a good night’s sleep. Just like the person who doesn’t get enough sleep and is cranky the next day, if I don’t write, I become a crabby person.

When this happens, my husband encourages me to go the basement (where my writing desk is) and keeps everyone away. Then once I’ve filled up my soul with writing, then I can breathe easier again.

Written by Jolene Roehlkepartain.