Cyberdyne Systems was responsible for a lot of heinous things, including a self-aware computer with an urge to eradicate the human race. You may have heard of its most devious agents, the Terminators. I bring this up because, according to Terminator lore, at 8:11 PM TODAY, Skynet will begin its attack against humanity.
Sadly, this is almost all Cyberdyne will be remembered for. And, while it is not as momentous a thing, Cyberdyne Systems is also responsible for me being a writer (this could also, I suppose, be considered an attempt to eradicate the human race... not that that's my goal, I swear!).
When I saw The Terminator in 1984, two things happened immediately. First, I fell hopelessly in love with Kyle Reese. Upon recovery, some months later, I began to write my first novel. It would now probably be considered fan fiction. I was so utterly enthralled with the post-apocalyptic world hinted at in that movie that I had to see more of it. Since James Cameron and Orion Pictures did not seem to share my all-encompassing and IMMEDIATE passion for all things Future, I decided to write it myself.
I remember the novel including a lot of dangerous patrols and German Shepherds. There were also a lot of amputated limbs replaced with prosthetics that all the refugees were slightly suspicious of. If I still had a floppy disk drive, and inserted the THREE disks I filled with my Terminator stories, the amputations would probably number in the hundreds. Why, I don't know. It was a theme of some sort.
Was this appropriate fiction for a seven year old girl to be writing?
YES. It was exactly what I needed to write. I could smell the burning metal, feel the adrenaline-soaked fear of my foot soldiers, and hear the sound of high-pitched barking echoing off the endless hallways where my civilization clung to life. With every Terminator we destroyed, my imagination grew. With every conflict between soldiers (there seemed to be a lot of animosity over who got the "good" MREs), I learned a little something about creating complex characters.
I lived in that world for months, so thoroughly woven into it that, when we had five minutes of free time at the end of class, I would lose myself in writing it. My teacher would have to come over and shake my shoulder, ten minutes after the bell rang and everyone else had slammed their desks closed and filtered out of class, to send me home. Good thing I walked.
A year later, I discovered Ann McCaffrey, and my metal drones were replaced with dragons and dragonriders. I poured my expanded world onto SIX floppies on that obsession.
Now, I create my own worlds. Yes, they have facets of the scenes and characters I have seen along the way. They also, now that I'm not seven, include chunks of my own successes, humiliations and heartbreaks.
So raise a glass, dear readers, and join me in toasting Cyberdyne Systems. And tell me, what dragged you into writing? Something as sinister, or something sweeter?