In the middle of a sweltering July night in a WWII-vintage basic training company orderly room, a skinny, bespectacled teenager banged away at a manual Army typewriter. The rat-a-clack-clack of the keys was not official business. It was fresh flash fiction and, as might be expected given the gender and age of the typist/author, was both adventurous and salacious.
Another basic trainee stood by poised to grab the newest page the moment it was finished. The typing stopped and the waiting reader took eager possession of the page as the writer cranked it out, inserted a fresh sheet, and resumed typing.
The release of this new page created a stirring among the half-dozen or so other young trainees seated in chairs along the walls, intently reading a page just handed them, or passing off a page to the next guy in line, or waiting empty-handed and eager for another page to come their way.
The young typist awoke briefly from his typing trance and realized he and the others were wrapped in a cocoon of his weaving. The magic of that surreal moment convinced that young typist that he must become a writer.
That young typist was me, age 17, at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in 1967.
And now, half a century later, the question is: Can I create that magic again?