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Why I Became a Writer (And It’s Not Why You Think)

Shockingly, this is a picture of a sledge hammer.
Shockingly, this is a picture of a sledge hammer.
Hammer time! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Do you ever wonder if maybe we make crucial life choices based on completely misunderstanding the world around us?

One of the most common questions I’m asked in interviews is: What made you decide to become a writer? I tend to talk about reading and storytelling as a kid, playing with an old typewriter, that sort of thing.

But really, I think it all goes back to a broken plate glass window.

You see, when I was about five years old, a local business (I think it was a car dealership) ran a TV commercial featuring a perky blonde woman holding up a massive sledge hammer.

With more effervescence than the situation called for, she chirped, “We’re smashing prices!”

Then she promptly swung the hammer at a sheet of glass that was rather predictably painted with the word “PRICES.” As you can imagine, she obliterated it. In slow motion, glass fragments exploded across the screen.

If I saw that TV spot today, I would think: “Jeez, what a cheesy used car commercial.” And I’d completely ignore it.

But as a kindergartner, my reaction was more direct:

“Look out! There’s a sledgehammer-wielding maniac on the loose! No one knows where she’ll strike next! Run for your lives!

Is it any surprise, really, that I grew up to be a writer?

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