What the Hell was I Thinking:
The Bio of a Self-prolaimed Geek
I have always loved Science-Fiction and Fantasy. I blame my mother of course. She read me books like The Hobbit, and The Elfin Ship by James P. Blaylock as I was growing up.
My mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I never thought it was unusual that my mother had a stack of books to read. I remember going with her to the library down the street. My mother would come home with a dozen or more books, no joking, every week.
I grew up watching my mom read books from Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffery, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, and many others. Like many families we also watched a lot of television. My family would sit around and watch Star Trek reruns, James Bond movies, sitcoms, and old TV shows. It was just what we did.
Star Trek was my favorite, of course. So I started reading Star Trek novels. I loved reading more about those vibrant characters.
There was one saturday night I will never forget. I was reading a Star Trek novel in my room when my mother had me come to the living room to watch a “new” TV show with her. The program was a British science fiction show called Doctor Who. There was this tall curly headed bloke with a 20 foot long multi colored scarf and a robot dog that had a time machine. Despite the sometimes bad acting, slow stories, and poor special effects, I loved it. It was from these humble beginnings that I wanted to write my own stories.
I have stuggled as an author. I have tried many different writing styles and techniques. As a teenager I banged away on an old Smith Corona typewriter, rewinding the ribbon again and again as I wrote my stories. It was frustrating. I used a lot of White Out, and did tons of rewrites. I then tried using notecards to organize thoughts and ideas. I would often loose or misplace them.
In Junior High I discovered that I liked drawing. I began drawing things I might have in my novels. Wether it was a fairy, a dragon, or an advanced cryo-chamber unit, I put my thoughts to paper. Many of those drawings I still have today.
At Sacramento High School I met Craig Reiser, an English teacher, who encouraged me to write. I monopolized the old Apple II that was in the back corner of the classroom. After months of work I had written Rendezvous Inc., a short story, with which I won first place in the school district’s short story writing contest. I felt validated as a writer.
Always remember to write for yourself first. I know that if I enjoy what I write others would too. If you don’t enjoy what you are writing, then how could a reader enjoy it?
This essay is just a recollection of one authors struggle to write. I know that there are others like me wanting to write their own “Great American Novel”. I have many friends, just as creative as me, that feel trapped and lost, trying to tell their stories. I also know that every writer is different. What works for me may not work for you. It took me almost twenty years to get to the point where I felt I had the tools and the encouragement to write.
As with most things, life gets in the way of our plans. Life will derail you, making you feel off track and isolated. Don’t believe others when they say you are wasting time and effort. All I can say is keep trying. Forge ahead. Try anything and everything. Remember your ideas matter. Never give up on your dreams.