What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
My first readings were very haphazard. I enjoyed a thirst for learning about science. I was fascinated with nature and wanted to know how it all fit together. I first jotted down stories of men I observed in bars playing cards and drinking whisky near coal mines along the Monongahela River in Pennsylvania. I must have been around 9 years old. Also, during that time, I wandered into the woods spending a lot of time alone. There, I observed nature and wondered how everything seemed to work so well. That's when I realized that nature was not the paradise it seemed to be. There was violence around every tree and under every rock. It was a struggle for survival. That’s when I also realized that a parallel exists between the two worlds. In the very beginning, no one even knew that I composed anything. Among the first, were young girls with whom I corresponded. Sometimes I would secretly read what I wrote about nature to my “girl” friends. I had many, who, seemingly also relished nature as I did.