Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ron told Ollie, "Well, shred the truth"

People have been posting about what made them want to write, or how they knew they were writers, so I'm going to be one of the cool kids and follow suit. Sort of. Click the "read more" bit under my charming illustration for the full scoop. I did really draw this, by the way.
See, I never really set out to be a writer. I've wanted to be a lot of things in my life - cartoonist, touring musician, professional wrestler, oversexed Marxist dictator - but the only thing I've ever really been good at is writing. I started early, apparently; my parents tell me that I taught myself how to read when I was three, and I read so much so early that I eventually tried to write my own stuff. It wasn't very good. Nevertheless, I won writing contests throughout elementary and middle school, and certainly enjoyed the attention they sent my way. But I never had any abiding passion for the art of it. I wrote because if I didn't, what else was I going to do? I was not someone blessed with a whole lot of natural talents, and the only reason people had to notice the weird quiet kid was that he could write. Sort of.

So on and on it went. I got into music and wrote songs for my band, and the less said about those, the better. I wrote a weekly column for my college's newspaper that was essentially an intellectual dick 'n fart joke outlet, and my brief stint as an editor for that paper almost got me sued. I helped start an alternative lit. publication on campus and wrote for that, again in an essay-journalism style. I started to like writing then. It was fun to provoke people who needed a pitchfork jabbing their butts, and I learned a lot about pacing and voice from my time there. I also took a couple of writing classes, which were my only formal creative writing instruction up to that point. My friends seem to think I was groomed for this from the beginning, but alas, most of my writing education was of the sentence-diagramming variety. Everything else I learned from reading and occasionally asking teachers what they thought of something, and time.

I have more of a passion for writing now that I'm in grad school. I've been writing freelance since I graduated college, and have had essays and a couple of fiction pieces published since then. But I don't exclusively feel like I write because I have little else to recommend me to the world. I like it now. Clearly I must, because this post has rambled on forever, certainly well beyond its logical end-point. But someone remind me to tell that story about how I almost got sued. That's a good one.

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