I loved O. Henry, so much, in fact, that I plagiarized “The Gift of the Magi” and read it out in class as my own creation. I was in 6th Grade at the time, and wishing to make myself popular; however, although I understood the story’s complex twists, it left my classmates befuddled. This was my first lesson in stealing someone else’s work and trying to come off deeper than my own skill. It is interesting to note that my taste in literature was rather profound for a young boy.
After the reading, no one said much to me about it; I’m certain that my teacher knew the truth of what I’d done, but my writing/reading days before class were at an end. This instance, I feel, should have been caught by a mentor, and as such, a moment needed for guidance. The teacher could have readily helped me get back on the path of “original” writing and guided me into becoming an apprentice writer. As it lies, however, this was one of those times when my budding talent/desire was ignored and all I received in return was indifference from teachers, my mother, and my fellows.
At home I wrote several stories, mostly centering on my love for Godzilla and dog stories. I wrote them religiously and excitedly, but my distracted parent could not see anything peculiar about them. Therefore, my early stages in getting a taste for literature fell upon deaf ears and blind eyes. At school, my vocabulary and diction was somewhat higher than my colleagues; it is interesting to note that these too were ignored. While most of my chums were riding bicycles and playing Little League Baseball, I was reading rather adult-oriented works and studying a budding art form. This indifference throughout my writing life plagued me until my later years.