For the past couple weeks, I’ve been scanning old family slides for my dad—thirty-some years worth. From a writer’s perspective—especially a writer who is particularly interested in character driven stories—it is fascinating to watch history unfold in old photographs. I am the objective bystander, looking in on the development of a family—my family. Not only that, but caught on film are individuals in that family. As one of seven children, it was easy to blend into the mass. We were the Scheffer Tribe. A gaggle of children, close in age.
|No, I'm not the nose picker; I'm the goofy one behind Mom!|
Understandably, it was difficult for others to keep us all straight, especially us three older girls (Why, oh why did Mom do that to our hair!). It was too easy to think of myself as an indistinct part of a whole. I never gave much thought to distinguishing myself as an individual; it seemed best not to stand out. Yet, in my own quiet way, I struggled to find a safe means of expressing myself (yes, I was of the children-should-be-seen-and-not-heard generation, enabling my parents to take seven moderately well-behaved children anywhere). I found that 'safe expression' of self in drawing and sewing and writing.
In my author biography I mention that I have been writing since I was a kid. I recall lying awake at night, thinking up scenarios. I have memories of writing all sorts of convoluted stories and sappy poetry. I even have old notebooks packed away somewhere, filled with mysteries and romances. Today, I came across another bit of evidence that I have indeed been writing for a long time.
This photo was taken on a family camping trip in Florida, just before I turned twelve. I remember that red notebook so well…I wonder what I had been writing that day.
And I had a real flair for fashion, don't you think?