On writing

10 October 2014

Being honor-bound to produce a short essay every week in this newsletter has been a positive motivation for me. However, there are always those days when you don’t know what to write about. Or, more accurately, you don’t know what feels authentic to write about on that day. Today is such a day for me. I sometimes write my newsletter essay before the end of the week, sometimes I write it directly before sending the email, but this is the first week since I began that I’m not sure what to say in this moment. So, I have fallen back on the publishing writer’s favorite standby production method: when at a loss, write about writing.

I decided I wanted to be a writer at age nine. My first short story was written from the point of view of one of my cats. I also created a parody poem of “The Raven” (although, in retrospect, I doubt it had anything approaching the correct rhyme or rhythm). As a teenager, I wrote Star Wars fanfiction (yes, I was extremely popular). At twenty, fueled by Jack Kerouac, I decided to stop aimlessly taking college courses and become A Writer—a decision that was swiftly followed by the realization that was a rather stupid and impossible thing to do. I determined to take a job that would support me so that I could write on the side. I had discovered that I liked computers, so I tried to make a career in technology.

A decade down the road, it occurred to me that I was spending so much time on technology that I had never really got around to the writing part. This is mostly okay, because I enjoy working with and learning about technology and it’s provided me a level of comfort I would not otherwise have. But it’s also true that the only thing that ever feels perfectly right for me to do is to write.

As I’ve moved on in my life and career, I’ve kept writing in the margins and I’ve discovered unique ways to publish and create more writing opportunities. You’re reading one of them. I don’t know if eventually they’ll lead back around to the beginning, but, whatever the journey is, it will probably be worth writing about, somewhere.

On my forearm is tattooed a quote from Kerouac. Number seventeen from his belief and technique list: “Write in recollection and amazement for yourself.” Because it’s always good to remember where you started.


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