Monday, February 13, 2012

Origins

Siv

 Inspiration is born some where. Small seeds of it grow in different places, some growing wild and some carefully planted. DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude together with his co-hosts Katie Mills (Creepy Query Girl) Alex J. Cavanaugh and Matthew MacNish  (Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment),  would like us to share the origin of our inspiration. What made us want to write and how did we get started? This is a ORIGINS blogfest, and here is where my seed was planted:
  
Siv is the Norwegian name of a weed that grows in marshes. Isolated stalks, hardy and sometimes ornamental, they tolerate most extreme conditions growing where few other plants can. Whether they knew it at the time or not, my parents could not have picked a name that would suit me any better. Learning to adapt was never a choice but a matter of necessity, as we moved from town to town in a beaten up station wagon and a trailer full of old furniture and boxes. Our father was always busy chasing a new dream, and we would sit in the back seat surrounded by cigarette smoke as he sprouted off about how great things were going to be in this new town. My sisters, my brother and I, had heard it all many times before.

Always the new kid with a name that no one could pronounce, I sought refuge in the school library. Characters in books became my best friends. Friends that kept me company no matter what clothes I wore or where I came from.  It was the summer between grade school and junior high that I discovered the power of my own written words. After seeing Elisabeth Taylor in the movie Rain Tree County I decided to send my very first fan mail. Loving a good story, told on paper or film is inspiring and for some forgotten reason she inspired me.  In my very best handwriting, a carefully composed poem was folded into an envelope then sent to her agent, whose address my mother helped find. Months went by and the letter all but forgotten until one day when my mother brought me a large manila envelope addressed to me. The envelope contained an autographed picture of Elisabeth Taylor and a letter thanking me for the beautiful poem. 

The picture and letter disappeared in an unpaid storage facility, together with all the other childhood mementos of mine. Once again my father had to pack us and his dreams into a beaten up station wagon, leaving most of our things behind. What I did take with me was the desire to keep on writing and it has stayed with me ever since.

32 comments:

Creepy Query Girl said...

awe, what a beautiful bittersweet story! Sometimes books really can be our best friends and our own words our comfort. Thanks for sharing your origins!

Melissa Bradley said...

Wow! Books and stories have always been my friends, too. Mostly because I was the awkward fat kid. :) I think that's awesome that you got an autographed picture from Elizabeth Taylor. I loved Rain Tree County. And I love hearing the meaning of your name.

Miranda Hardy said...

That was a lovely story. You may have lost the childhood memento, but the memory lives on.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, Siv, I love how fitting your name is. And very nice story--I wish you had a way to get that pic back!

Bossy Betty said...

Ah, you lost some material things, but you kept your memories and they serve you well in your writing.

Ellie Garratt said...

I have often wondered about the origin of your name, and it certainly is fitting. I think what your origin story shows is that whilst we are probably born with or without the writing gene, our childhood and life experiences do shape that talent in myriad of ways.

Thank you for sharing it with us.

J.L. Campbell said...

That's a poignant story, Siv. Sometimes writing works as therapy for me and it is indeed a desire that we take with us no matter where we go.

Emily R. King said...

A letter from Elisabeth Taylor? Sweet!
I like that you like your name, despite others mispronouncing it. My name means "industrious." It couldn't annoy me more when I meet an "Emily" who is not. : )

Fairview said...

what a great story!

Jeremy Bates said...

beautiful story..thanks for sharing

Julie said...

What a touching story! I counted many books and characters as my childhood friends too, as I was always a very shy and introverted kid. And, what a lovely name you have. I love the Siv photo.

Craziness abounds said...

Having a good eye day so I'm trying to go visit everyone. It's funny how certain events lead to inspiration isn't it? I don't know what made me want to write. I just know I've written for as long as I can remember. It's part of who I am and I can't imagine not writing.

Susan Kane said...

Such a tender story beginning with the name choice. So glad you are a writer, Siv!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

That is such a cool story. Too bad the letter fell behind but all your traveling surely helps with material for writing.

Sarah Ahiers said...

How awesome is it that you got a reply from that fan letter? That is so cool!

Morgan said...

Whoa... your story might as well be one in a book! Crazy. Gosh, thanks for sharing this with us. Truly touching!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Oh, that's sad!
But what went with you in your heart mattered more.
Thanks for participating in the blogfest.

Alleged Author said...

"My parents could not have picked a name that would suit me any better. Learning to adapt was never a choice but a matter of necessity."

Proof of your ability to write some really beautiful words. Gorgeous. Keep rising above everything, girl!

Cortney Pearson said...

What a beautiful, sad story!

Stephen Tremp said...

Sorry to hear about losing your childhood momentos. But You're still going strong! Thanks for sharing your story with us. It was deep and heartfelt.

farawayeyes said...

Struggle, adversity and loneliness can make for a beautiful outcome, if only we over come.Thanks for sharing a heartfelt story.

I know I was following you but then blogger hates me so they seem to have eliminated me from your space, but I signed on again and I'll be back.

Scarlett said...

My dear Siv Maria, we could be sisters, you and I. I'm the difficult tot banished to the roof.

My dad was (still is... on his own) a dreamer, too. There were too many last minute, cross-country treks to count in the hopes of landing on solid ground and in the *perfect destination*, where money grows on trees and my childhood fantasies thrived.

Write on!

Scarlett said...

By the by ~ LOVE 'the duck gets it' humor!

And, thank you for the kitty. Purrs AND Paws! Precious.

Shockgrubz said...

It's great that you could treasure was that your writing could elicit such a response, even though your photo was lost.

Matthew MacNish said...

I think it's only natural that a love of reading blossoms into a love of writing. Thanks for sharing your origin story, Siv!

DL Hammons said...

What a wonderful...bittersweet...ORIGIN story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us! :)

Cherie Reich said...

What a great origin story. Those type of responses stick with you. :)

nutschell said...

Siv,
I totally understand that whole unpronounceable name thing. :) loved your origins story. I hope you find that autographed picture one day.

Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

The Golden Eagle said...

That's a wonderful story! Sad that you lost the letter and picture--though it's clearly the memory that matters most. :)

Tara Tyler said...

bittersweet beginning. how hard life must have been or you, but you seemed to make the most of it and take your memories w/you for reference!
good for you!

Trisha said...

Your dad sounds like the kind who just couldn't settle down anywhere. My dad was that kind too, but he surprised us all by staying in our current hometown even after my parents split up. He's still here, though he does travel a lot!

That's so amazing that you got an autographed picture from Elizabeth Taylor! Such a pity it was lost though.

Tia Bach said...

I love the significance of your name and your origins story. I was always moving, still am, and writing was my safety net, my home away from where I lived.

I'm also in your campaign group (#3). Looking forward to following your blog.