What inspired you to write your first story?
My absolutely first story was for an assignment in high school, so I'm pretty sure my inspiration for that one came from the need to get a good grade.
My first real story that I wrote, i.e., my first faltering steps toward becoming a writer, was inspired by John Donne's "Death Be Not Proud." I wanted to write a sci-fi tale that talked about the beauty of life as only death can reveal it. So I did. And I titled it "A Lifetime of Seconds."
It's about a man's whose job is to chronicle the last weeks of terminal patients for study later. His latest assignment is a girl out of place in her world, more attuned to the world of romantic poets and philosophical/religious thought. As he falls in love with her, she teaches him about the grace of being ready to die and embrace what comes next.
Looking back, it's not a very good story. Not only is it way overwritten, but it's quite heavy-handed in terms of religious thought about the soul, and it can get a bit preachy at times. However, at it's core, I still really enjoy the nugget of the story. Maybe one day I'll come back to it and revise it in light of all I've learned about storytelling since then.