Looking back, I see I had the makings of a writer even at a young age as I was:
1. Incredibly shy - I had a horrible tic which was to grab my leg and stretch it behind me, like a runner preparing for a race, when talking to people. My leg was my security blanket. Something to clutch onto. How weird is that? Total makings of a writer.
2. An only child (for a little while) - My sister was born when I was nine so up until then it was me and my imagination for company. And books. Lots and lots of books.
3. Always writing short stories on my dad's old typewriters - sure, I only used my right hand and it took a while to complete a sentence, let alone a page, but I kept at it.
After that, it was a writing major at college (Emerson), a graduate degree from a writing program (UC Davis), a job in publishing (Chronicle Books), lots of freelance writing gigs, a move to television, some residencies at various artist colonies (Ragdale, Vermont Studio Center) and finally, joyfully, thrillingly, a foray into novels.
Now I teach writing (Otis College), can carry on a conversation without clutching my leg (usually) and continue to devour books which, I think, is the best form of a continuing education.