The Origin of My Story Telling

It's funny how some memories lodge themselves in your brain like a poppy seed in your teeth. I have ones that have followed me for nearly three decades.

Waves at Tobay Beach, Long Island.
I recall being at a beach on the south shore of Long Island, most likely Tobay. I was playing in the waves with my friend. His mother loved to lay in the sun and since she worked nights, she took us there during the week when it was not crowded.

The sea was choppy that day my friends.

We were playing in the surf and I recall being thrown about by the waves like laundry in a dryer. It was exhilarating. As soon as I'd drift to shore I would look for my friend, eager to describe what had just happened. As I jabbered wildly, he nodded looking out to the horizon, lost in his own experience. I had this amazing feeling and this eminent desire to tell someone, anyone about it.

The emotion has never left me. It has aged like a fine wine.

Shortly after the summer, I had a writing assignment due in class. Not knowing where to start, I asked my dad for help. He was lying half asleep on the couch, resting between his two jobs with a cup of coffee half-full in his hand. The story was to describe a trip around Manhattan holding on to a red balloon. Dreamily he took me past the Statue of Liberty, between the valley of the Twin Towers and over the 59th Street Bridge until the balloon popped and I landed in the golden glove of Mets First Baseman Keith Hernandez. I couldn't write fast enough, amazed by how real it felt. Later that week, after the papers were returned to the class, mine was held by the teacher and read aloud. I can still feel the flush of embarrassment in my cheeks and the exhilaration of being thrown about by the waves on the beach.

Whether or not he was aware of it, my dad had passed on to me the tools to build something from my imagination and share it, after you've had time to look to the horizon and come back from your own experience.