Writing developed from punishment and one could argue that they remain intrinsically linked.
When I was nine-years-old, my English Teacher sensing my boredom and easy distraction, addressed me in front of the class and told me I had to write a story as punishment and read it out the next day. Being a child that had shown no penchant for writing fiction, it was a challenging evening.
Nevertheless, with pen in hand I struggled through the first couple of pages, until an inexplicable change occurred. In a blind obsession I wrote a ten page prequel to the movie Shane entitled The White Gun.
The next day in class I stood up and began reading. Public speaking, even at that young an age, has never bothered me. I could speak in front of ten people, or ten thousand, and be just as comfortable. This calm disposition enabled me to read at a steady pace, while simultaneously watching my classmates. As I reached the bottom of each page I was surprised to see anticipation in their eyes. Classmates that had mocked me for the punishment twenty-four hours earlier were now caught up in story, my story.
It was a defining moment; one where I realised that through story I could entertain even the toughest of critics.
So I am grateful that my Teacher had not punished me with a whip instead, who knows what I would be into now….