Posts Tagged ‘education’

Tyler Woodbridge on Writing (Part One: The Early Years)

October 21, 2009

Every person on this planet has some kind of talent. Whether or not they can parlay this talent into a professional endeavor, or if they have the opportunity to use it on a regular basis, varies from person to person. It takes some people a lifetime to discover their ability, while others may know about it from early childhood on. These talents can be unusual, practical, artistic, or even dangerous. Discovering a talent and using it could add a great deal of enjoyment to ones life, and provide opportunities of many varieties.

I was lucky enough to discover one of my primary talents from a very early age. When I was young I loved to read. As a toddler I would ask for books from the department stores, rather than toys. Every week I was given a new book. Most of these books were Sesame Street books that taught valuable life lessons, or educated me on different topics.  I also read works dealing with dinosaurs, outer space, history, and the environment. These topics kickstarted my imagination, and I grew curious and wanted to explore these more.

As I grew older (not much, I was around 5), I thought to myself, “Why read books, when I can write some of my own?” This is where it all started. I would staple together around 20 sheets of regular white paper. At the top of the page I would write two or three sentences, and then on the bottom half I would draw a picture or a character that related to the sentences. I ended up making a “series” of “books,” many of which having to do with the adventures of young dinosaurs, largely inspired by the Land Before Time movie series. I had a blast writing these “books” and would spend more time working on these, than I would playing with neighborhood children or watching TV. I had an unusual childhood, to say the least!

Teachers were quick to discover my advanced language skills and talent in reading and writing. Rather than do daily writing exercises in kindergarten, I would solve advanced problems on the computer all day. Instead of reading “Go Dog Go” and Dr. Seuss, my teacher would send me to the library to read some more advanced material. I was a young mind overflowing with information, and no way to use it. So I just thought, dreamed, imagined, and wrote.

Throughout my life I’ve had periods where I’ve had an obsession of some kind, and for a while my life would be overtaken by that particular obsession. At first, I was crazy about dinosaurs. Then, I couldn’t get enough of learning about outer space. Rainforests, baseball, football, medieval history, poker, auto racing, rock music; the list of my obsessions is long and varied. Every time I’d take up a new interest, I would write and read about it constantly. It wouldn’t stop there. When I was into baseball, I’d write up statistical graphs (like on a baseball card) for myself, fantasizing about the record-breaking career I’d have for the Cincinnati Reds. I started writing an adventure novel about space wars… at the age of 8. In my younger days I spent so much time and energy creating, although much of it went nowhere but the bottom of a trash pail.

Of course, young kids don’t put much serious thought into what they want to do with their lives. I was no different. When asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, my dreams were big. President of the United States. Palaeontologist. Race car driver. I didn’t realize how far-fetched these ideas were, and it would be several more years until I went through two personal creative developments that would help me realize my place in this world.

….and that will be covered in Part Two.