When I was seven I wrote a story about a space ship landing in our back yard. The aliens were friendly and, at some point, they ate purple ice cream. As mothers do, mine told me it was brilliant. A year later, I thought it was dumb. A year after that, I wished I could write like that again. The next year, I burned it. My mom spanked me for playing with matches. The next day I wrote a story about a mean old mother and her reign of terror. As mothers do, she said it was cruel. The next day, I burned it.