The Books of Little Boys
Before I was a writer, I was a reader. As soon as I could read, my mother would take me to the Dallas library every week and I’d max out my library card. My favorite topic to read about was the frontier and Native Americans. By the time I was twelve, I had read every book in that branch that related to Native Americans, a topic that often occurs today in my writing.
My parents helped the library too by buying books—sets of encyclopedias, the Hardy Boys series. I’ve managed to keep a few books from those early years of reading. I still have what my parents say was my first book: Famous Indian Chiefs by Moyer. When I was about two, I had to have brain surgery. That book was in his office and my parents said I wouldn’t let go of it. The surgeon kindly told my parents it was his gift to me. He also said I likely wouldn’t live another year. Yet, here I am, still clutching that book.
I also still have my children’s picture books of Daniel Boone and Robinson Crusoe, and novels from high school that made an impression on me—The Red Badge of Courage, All Quiet on the Western Front, and The Jungle.
Eventually, the reading fired me up to do my own writing. Starting with self-publishing, I finally found a publisher in 2007. Now, three publishers later, with 15 published books, several published poems, articles for literary publications and potboiler writing, I really do think of myself now as a writer, still hungry to discover, create, and read.
And I owe all of these writing accomplishments to my mother, Jessie Fae Pittman, who believed in the value and power in the books of little boys.