What makes a good writer? To say something in such a way that the listener/reader doesn't fall asleep, and if you're real good, they'll remember what you had to say.
One day, at the age of four, while waiting for a bus with our neighbor Trixie, I asked, "How do you know which bus to take?" When she explained that she read the sign above the front window, the lights turned on in my head, and that night I asked my dad, a schoolteacher, to teach me how to read. Dad was a prankster and kept testing to see if I could read between the lines. Gullible, I wondered how anyone knew how to read, but I stubbornly persisted and eventually I got it.
Maybe because I liked reading, I liked school; probably it was because my dad was a teacher. On my first day of kindergarten other kids were crying and wanting to go home. Not me. I tackled kindergarten with gusto. A few days later, when measuring a ten-foot long clay snake, the teacher ran out of rulers. With confidence I walked out of my classroom, (the teacher thought I was going to the bathroom), walked the hallways to the opposite side of the school, looking through classroom door windows before opening one door and boldly walking over to a freckle-faced 12-year old boy (my brother), and asking for his ruler. Then I returned and measured my snake. My mother got a phone call. I promised to be good.
Good to me meant self-appointing myself as the teacher's helper, going from desk to desk answering questions. Another phone call to Mom.
What happened? I was allowed to help some of the time, which appeased me until I became an elementary school teacher, with a a specialty in intermediate-upper grades and reading. That was perfect. While teaching I heard the call of the wild: advertising and marketing would pay me for writing. That was cool.
As much as I liked all of that I had a character in my head who wanted out. At first, I ignored the talking rabbit. I wasn't crazy, or at least, I didn't think so. I was a mother and a business woman. Who had time for rabbits?
Then one day my kids got old and my husband and I got young. We moved from Chicago to San Diego. I said to my husband, "I'm going to write my friend's love story. Everyone says it should be a movie." I worked on the notes for a year. And stopped.
The rabbit, who I had known since I was in high school, kept popping into my head. Back then he was my hero because he helped humans. Whenever I had to tell a story, either for a creative writing class or to my students or to my own kids, I told them my rabbit story. Eventually I came to my senses and listened and brought Wapi to life. E.A.R.S. is his story.
E.A.R.S. is based on some fact. I'm originally from Connecticut. My father was a truck driver before he became a teacher, he continued to drive big rigs during summers when I was a kid. I have an older brother. Winter storms can make driving impossible. All the species of animals mentioned in the story are found in Connecticut. Animals do have a quiet, sixth sense. And, most importantly, animal and human rights, and peace and love are real.
I'm thrilled that you are reading about me and my story about Wapi and E.A.R.S.
Where to find Ann Finch online
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