As it happens I know exactly when. At the beginning of 1955 I decided to keep a diary. On January the First, I wrote, “Considering this a very important year in my life—the school musical, graduation, summer, first year of college, I thought it would be a good idea to record these events … because I wish to clarify my own thinking and ideas.”
The diary has long lists of books I was reading, as well as quotes I liked: “For words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within.” (Tennyson) The pages are full of my own wise thoughts, too. “Read Plato. Not bad.” It chronicles my seventeen-year-old efforts at writing, reading, my love of the theatre, and my crushes on girls.
On March 28, 1955, I wrote: “Well, I finally said it out loud. I intend to stay with the theatre. In the theatre one can do everything in the world—write, build and be anything or anybody … There is so much to write about.”
I had decided to become a writer, a playwright. From playwright to writer of books for young people is a whole other story. But March 28, 1955 was the day I knew I wanted to be a writer.