Write right now. And then every moment every after.
It does beg the question, why?
For those souls who discovered the writer within and then dedicated themselves to the craft at far younger ages than me, more power to you. There is a part of me that tugs at the question of why it took so long to jump into this with both feet, but I’m not big on regret. I think it took all of the moments, previous jobs, life experiences, piles of miscues and flat out failures to reach a place where the light only illuminates the path I am on now.
As noted previously, I’ve always known what I wanted, but the practical aspects of such a pursuit pushed the priority to write on to the back burner. It took several life events to literally shake things up so radically, my entire life perspective was altered about everything I thought I knew.
I was certainly going through the motions, doing what society deemed I do next, finish a college degree, find an acceptable vocation, work a job 10-20 more years and retire to shuffleboard or travel to warm places. And then on a day when I was walking around in a deep funk, my wife hit me with a question, “Why did you ever stop writing? You’re a writer.”
I wasn’t certain my loving wife, who has a busy career of her own even read any of my newspaper articles over the years. The fact that she had, and she noted the impact those words had on her and the community did give me pause, and I had no answer to her question. I really didn’t know why.
The next life changer was losing my father. He was the healthiest, happiest man I knew and he was taken from this world far, far too soon. A seemingly innocent misdiagnosis of indigestion turned into stage four esophageal cancer. If they caught it any sooner, the incredibly brave 14-month battle could have gone my Dad’s way, but it didn’t. I still wonder the how and why it happened. However, his indelible mark on my existence was to truly live happily each day. He wasn’t a laid back chill kind of happy, he worked very hard everyday, played hard, and laughed at just about anything. It was his example of how to approach each moment that further altered my perception.
A few months after Dad was gone, I walked into a college classroom taking a course about writing plays. As an English minor, it was a random selection and to be honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted to learn about this particular process. The professor, a published playwright herself, began a class discussion about the excuses potential writers make. We covered most of the bases, fear of being unoriginal, trying to write the next ‘great’ story versus simply writing, expertise on certain topics, fear of critique, not enough time, and a number of others.
Suddenly I was surrounded completely by kindred spirits. Humans who shared the same passion and held the same fears as me. For years, I utilized every one of the excuses posted onto the white board in front of the classroom. I was not alone.
You know what else? Writing plays is an absolute blast. Any topic, any conversation, with proper format and structure can be a play. Okay, so it sounds so obvious now, but it certainly felt like discovery. My fellow students were all incredible talents, and they were each very kind and supportive at every step of the creative process as we all exchanged edits and critiques. Our professor packed in more information into a semester linking every aspect of what it would take to become a successful writer. The class was more than inspiring, it was transformational.
Everything I’ve done leads to this moment. The military time to help my wife finish college, the painfully unpleasant corporate job that followed, the joy of journalism for a decade, the life in and around comic books and artistic creativity on multiple levels, and the seemingly endless pursuit of education bring me the experience I use to generate my own adventures on paper.
A loving supportive family, a wife who somehow likes me for me, two frighteningly literate sons, a Mom who reads my silliness, my talented brothers three, and lasting friendships across various state lines and several decades all helps a bunch as well. Actually, I don’t know that one can be thankful enough of a great support system.
Why write now?
My path is clear, the excuses are gone. It is who I am. Words beyond this blog may or may not entertain others, the stories may or may not be of epic quality, but it sure is fun trying.