History of the Writer as a Young Girl

Inkubate is delighted to share a guest blog by author, E. E. King

E. E. King reading shorts to Ray Bradbury

E. E. King, reading shorts to her Godfather, Ray Bradbury

One of my earliest memories is of sitting on the steps leading into my parents’ living room and listening to the authors in my dad’s writers group read aloud from their latest works.

My father, Dolph Sharp, was born in 1914 in Long Island N.Y. As a young man, he wrote reviews and satirical shorts for a Hempstead, Long Island paper, later moving to Tucson and then to California for health reasons. Daddy made his living writing fiction for magazines like Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post and Women’s Day.

One of his works, “The Tragedy in Jancie Brierman’s Life,” was published in The Best American Short Stories of 1948. Buoyed by this success and looking for literary companionship in his new city, he set out to start a writers group by searching through the compendium’s Table of Contents for other writers living in Los Angeles.

Not long after, Ray Bradbury, Sanora Babb, Wilma Shore, Joseph Petracca, Elliott Grennard and Ben Maddow convened at our home in the Hollywood Hills and shared their stories over pastrami on rye with pickles and sauerkraut.

Dolph Sharp’s writers’ group with Ray Bradbury

Dolph Sharp’s writers group in the Hollywood Hills with Ray Bradbury seated, center

And so, for over 30 years, they came to Blair Drive. The house is built on the hill. One enters on the top floor and descends a few steps into the living room. Gathering around the coffee table, they would read their works and comment on one another’s projects.

There were drinks and smokes and laughter…always laughter. Sometimes their spouses and other writers would join.

I remember hearing Ray read drafts of the The Halloween Tree, which started as a painting, then became a short story, then a screenplay and finally a novel. Ray loved words. He was drunk on language. For thirty years, these were always the best of times in our house.

A year before Ray died, he and I reminisced about Dad’s writing group. Ray said that he thought it worked so well and lasted so long because they were all so different.  From screenplay writers, architectural critics, and magazine columnists to songwriters and scriptwriters, the group was diverse. Joseph Petracca, wrote of his Italian roots in NYC, while Sanora Babb recalled the Dustbowl of the 1930s. Wilma Shore wrote for the New Yorker, while Peg Nixon chronicled her South African childhood. And my father penned semi- fictional/semi-autobiographical tales about New York’s Brierman family. “There was no one stepping on anyone else’s feet,” Ray said.

I was happy when Ray took a real interest in Inkubate. During one of my last visits with him, when I showed him all my short stories and my father’s titles uploaded on Inkubate, Ray endorsed the platform, saying, “Inkubate is giving voice to new writers as well as resurrecting those that should not be forgotten. Inkubate is the place to discover talent.”

For every published short story, novel or play or poem, there are likely to be a hundred or more just as worthy unpublished works, just waiting to be discovered.

E. E. King, Hollywood Hills


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