Writing has been a part of my life for—I’d like to say forever, but I cannot, in good conscious say that—for…a long time. I recognized that I had a talent for-, and enjoyed writing when I was either a sophomore or junior in high school. I had this English teacher, and I know what some of you all may be thinking, that she had a deep appreciation for literature and writing, and she took me under wing and cultivated that talent within me, unfortunately that’s not exactly what happened. She did recognize a talent in me, and would write notes about my papers that would read somewhere along the lines of, “Great paper! I look forward to the next one.” And, “You have such a vivid imagination, and a talent for communicating that vision onto paper.” As a result I enjoyed being in the class, and I waned to learn, and to become a better writer, and to develop a better understanding for the language. However, one morning, coming to class, she wasn’t there, and she would never be there again, when queried it turned out that she could no longer take it, it would be nice if I could say that she could no longer take the immense developing shining light that was beginning to expose itself from within me, but no, she actually couldn’t take the ridicule and humiliation and intense drama steeping from hundreds of testosterone filled teenagers at my high school. That’s right, my graduating class was so unabashedly evil that we were responsible for breaking a handful of teachers. I was disappointed when I discovered that we had driven her away, I had never really had a mentor, and I was looking forward to what the course of that year would have to offer, and what might develop but, you know, eh, I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Instead I found myself bringing new AFI albums to class [The Art of Drowning] and spending entire periods laying on the floor tossing a hacky-sack to myself, sometimes I would fall asleep, because our long-term temp apparently had better things to do, I suppose, than to pay attention to his students. It took a few months to find a replacement, and once they did, our new teacher was only slightly more engaged than our long-term substitute.
I would write here and there, on my own, from then on, and the next year, when I took a psychology course that the high school offered I discovered a new topic of interest and when, at first, it was an exciting new thing to write about, it quickly became the focus of my new potential career. I would even attend UTSA (University of Texas at San Antonio) as a psychology major with the intention of becoming a clinical psychologist. After three years of study I became disillusioned by the idea that our apathetic society would aspire only to a fifteen minute 'therapy' session at the end of which a tiny little pill would prescribe itself to the uncertain well-being of said person’s pointless life. It was a difficult time for me, when people were more concerned with the quick fix than they were talking to-, and working through their problems—it made me sad. I did not want to prescribe medication, I am not a believer of medicating psychological disorders, yes, I know, we could talk about exceptions for hours but I would rather talk about writing, and reading, and books, so let’s get back to that…
The prospect of becoming a writer resurfaced late one night while I was driving through the southwestern corner of Colorado, it had snowed so much during the week prior that everything looked the same, although I had never been where I happened to be that night, so I’m not sure that it would have made a difference anyway, and I got lost. I use that word loosely—“lost”—because I didn’t really have a destination in mind at the time, and I’m not positive that you can actually get lost if you don’t know where your going to begin with. Nevertheless it was 3:00 AM I was driving down a snowy dead end road, before I knew it was a dead end, and thought, I should write about this. When I decided to settle(ish) in Pocatello, Idaho, and sat down to write, in my incredible new studio apartment, what would come out had nothing whatsoever to do with that night when driving in Colorado, and still, to date, I haven’t really written about that experience, I have touched on it, maybe, but (similar to how I’m touching on it in this blog) but I haven’t yet written about it—someday. I started writing, instead, about being on an airplane, and about the people on the plane, and how they might relate to-, and with one another. At the time I intended this to be a novel, unfortunately this wouldn’t be a novel. It would become a collection of short stories, and the beginning of my creative writing career. A writing career that was not at all easy to get into, however I have learned over the course of the last several years that we often attribute hard work simply to that of allowing an idea, or a passion the opportunity of the test of time. The only “hard” thing about anything is not giving up, because it is, apparently, a conditioned aspect of our nature to give up if it takes longer than we want it to.
I often think about my childhood and how much I wish my parents would have aspired to find some passion in me, and to help me learn how to pursue it. I think about that English teacher, and how that relationship could have turned into a mentorship that may have filled in the blanks, or offered those subtle insights into having a talent in a professional world that would have allowed me to develop my creativity and my professional success simultaneously. Don’t get me wrong, when I talk about success I am not referring to a Stephen King level of success or even a David Foster Wallace level of success, I am simply referring to having developed the means to cultivate a talent while also building a career. I never had that, at least the mentor that many successful artists do. Everything I know I learned by making mistakes, and by not giving up, but alas I still find myself in positions to, you know, not give up. It would be nice, at this point, to not even have the option of giving up and pursing something else, and that alternative to be an acceptable norm in the eyes of some people (my parents). I find that the difference that that mentor would have made is in the little push over the edge, you know when you're almost there, and you're always only almost there, but that little push; you know, like when something goes viral it was because that one extra person decided to like, or comment, or share, or whatever—that one little push that made the difference.
Don’t get me wrong, hard work makes a huge difference, especially for yourself when you lay your head on the pillow at night, however learning to ask for help, and to keep asking, and to continue doing it, that is what will push you over that edge.
I am a freelance author, writer, critic, artist, and entrepreneur living in the Heart of the Texas Hill Country.