Steve Liskow  

Steve's Early Writing

My family has many teachers, writers, lawyers, and even a few journalists, so my sister and I were read to from the time we could sit upright. I entered kindergarten reading at about fifth grade level and took writing for granted. I was about ten when I discovered the Hardy Boys and Sherlock Holmes, and I began writing my own stories at that time. My mother typed them up; when I saw my own words in print, I was hooked.

I wrote all the way through high school and into college, but didn't think I could make a living at it, so I never took any creative writing classes. I became an English teacher, but abandoned writing for a few years until a class in the American short story rekindled the urge in grad school. I wrote several novels over the next ten years. They were all terrible, but they helped me find the way I could get words on paper the most effectively.

From an early age, I could "hear" the words I read, maybe because the people who read to me were excellent readers and gave the words lots of expression. I still have a strong sense of the rhythm of language, and I had it when I was very young. Reading specialists tell me "auditory subvocalization" is a reading problem because I can't read faster than a voice can pronounce the words, but I've never believed that. It helped me learn lines when I did theater, and it still helps me revise and edit my work. If something doesn't sound natural out loud, I change it.


Steve speaking as part of a panel on summer reading at River Run Books in Portsmouth, NH.