Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What makes a writer?

When I was a boy and teen I think I was a pretty odd kid. I didn't have a terribly traumatic life. For that matter it was really rather boring...rather very boring.

While the other boys played football and road BMX bikes and motorcycles I was not allowed to.  The closest I ever got to a BMX motorcycle was getting a MOPED at fourteen. Cool thing that MOPED, but top speed was 30 mph and with the low dragging frame, you could count out any kind of ramps.

I spent most of my life reading encyclopedias and every volume or Tintin and Louis L'AMour I could find. When not reading I roamed in the woods alone or took long walks through the countryside with my dog...and I mean long walks...like five to ten miles or more.

These traits meant plenty of mockery and the occasional fist fight...for some reason I never walked away, although I got pummelled every time.

I wasn't a total dork though. Not bad in athletics, but never took part in organized sports. A major against for me was the fact that I was a "choir fag" and "drama fag" which meant torture by the jocks just the same.  (Not a "fag" in the literal sense, that's just the nickname they gave us highly talented guys).

Of course what the jocks didn't realize was that those were the two groups filled with hot girls...hence my own attraction to the groups. But, it was a fruitless venture for me, as I almost never got a date..."good singer, great actor, kinda cute...but he reads encyclopedia's...too nerdy".

Now we come to the meat of this short essay. How are writers made? 

Basically, life experience coupled with a vivid imagination.  All of those encyclopedias gave me data and the long walks gave me hands on tactile information that the jocks would seldom get by running around on a field in tights and testicle protector cups.  The observation I did watching the other kids from the outside enabled me to see the things they could not, like the kid with the frightened look on his face every time he was about to be tackled in backyard football, or the desperation in the eyes of the bully, or the true happiness the the studly guys has on his face when he's weeding his mom's flower garden...with no one watching of course.

The characters I write have been easily drawn from those times out and I can flesh out the emotions as I build the characters, some of whom are slightly nerdy guys who end up being spec ops or cia types. Other are flat out studs, with a quirk or two. I have even ended up with a couple of borderline psychotics on both the good and bad guys teams.

Writing, and especially the podcasting / acting out I do with the stories, seems to be a great way to work out my past.

A funny aside to being the nerdy guy at school is that I ended up marrying a very lovely, sweet, quiet Korean girl who had come to Alaska as a student. Over time I discovered she was one of the loud. tough girl bullies as kid (she beat up boys as self-proclaimed protector of the girls), and, by her own admission, the only reason she had been so demure when we met was because she didn't understand English very well.

That's me for today.

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