“Writing is like giving yourself homework, really hard homework, every day, for the rest of your life. You want glamorous? Throw glitter at the computer screen.”
It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to become a professional writer. It isn’t as if it is the best paying gig in the world. Most writers don’t make enough to buy health insurance. Nevertheless, writing is the marrow in my bones, it’s stitched into my soul.
In high school, I didn’t show an aptitude for much of anything. I liked certain classes, but I wasn’t exceptionally talented in any one area. My attentions were, sadly, too consumed with dating to bother with academia. However, in college, I was drawn to literature courses. Suddenly teachers spoke openly about the hush-hush topics that no one brought up in secondary school, and critical theory pushed the boundaries of my mind, forced me to see things differently, and challenged my beliefs. I loved every minute of it.
As an emergent writer, I hunted for ways to shine around campus; first by contributing articles to The College Times, the college newspaper, and then publishing short stories in college magazines. Writing became a therapy and a drug. It was a creative outlet and a method for processing learning. But more than anything, it provided me with an unparalleled sense of fulfillment. Give me words or give me death.
I published a lot in the years to follow (mostly in newspapers and blogs), and then I went on to get an MFA in Creative Nonfiction. The training in my Master's program helped shape my work and aim me in the direction of a genre I hadn't considered before. Narrative essays and memoirs became the bread to my butter. The Triskets to my cream cheese.
This week, one of my essays was published in Pinball. "How We Die" captures the naked life of a family ravaged by depression. Yes, this is my family and our toe-to-toe, thrust-and-parry battle with depression. It's writing like this that gave me the reputation for being "blisteringly honest" by my writer mentor, Jake Lamar. Here's the link.