Kay's Pen



S. Kay Murphy

Hi!  Thanks for stopping by my site. 

If you are looking for information on my memoir about alleged serial killer Bertha Gifford, please click on the link above for Tainted Legacy.  If you'd like to see more samples of my writing, click on the "Pieces" tab.

In 1963, I was nine years old and in the fourth grade at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in Lakewood, California.  One day my teacher, Mrs. Walton, gave the class a homework assignment to write a story, having recently taught us the critical skill of punctuating dialogue.  Later that afternoon, I sat on my bedroom floor with a pencil and a tablet of milk-blue paper.  There I wrote a story in third person about a boy who built a robot out of spare parts from his garage.  The robot, which was functional, though slightly flawed, became the lonely boy's good friend.  The story had a beginning, a middle, and an end; a protagonist, a climax and a resolution.  Of course, I had no idea at the time what those elements were.  What I did know was that something mystical had occurred.  A story had somehow gotten itself from my brain onto the paper.  I had no idea where it came from, and I was in awe of it.

So I took it to school, and I offered it up to Mrs. Walton, and she asked if she could read it to the class.  That's when I had my second mystical experience--I connected with my audience.  I was a quiet, withdrawn little girl who walked with her head down, hoping for the least amount of contact with others.  And yet, as I surreptitiously watched the faces of my classmates while they listened to my story, laughing in the right places, raptly attentive during the action scenes, I realized that at least in this one way, I could connect with them.  I can only describe the moment as sublime.

For the truth is, a story which reveals the dreams, hopes, failures, fears and triumphs of others creates a universal human connection that transcends age, race and gender.  It is this truth which drew us together in our genesis around the glow of a fire in a cave, and it is that which draws us together now around the similar glow of a television or movie screeen or the footlights of a theater.  Witnessing human drama unfold, whether it is real or fictional, assures us that we are not alone in our own experiences.