Growing up, I never expected to become a writer, but there were early signs. When I was three or four years old my mother stood listening outside my closed bedroom door. Voices drifted out from my room. Behind the door I sat in a circle with Lion and Checkered Bear and my other stuffed animals, making up stories, giving each animal a distinct character and voice. My mother went downstairs and called our psychologist cousin Florence to ask if my behavior was normal. Florence reassured her that as long as I stopped by the time I went to college, there was nothing to worry about.
When I was seven, my parents loaded our station wagon with camping gear, I climbed in clutching a small journal, and with my sisters we set off from our New Jersey home for Acadia National Park. I adored Acadia, with its enormous granite boulders and waves crashing against rocky shores. Eager to record everything, I wrote in the car. I still have the journal, which lists the time and location of every tollbooth we drove through, and nothing else. It wasn’t much, but it was a start.