From the time I was in third grade I really wanted to be the author of a bunch of fun, interesting books. But my parents wanted me to be able to make money, leave home, and feed myself. I say that jokingly of course, but I did get blank, horrified looks when I told them at the age of eight that I wanted to be a writer.
For fun, I wrote several books. The first one was 216 pages long and I wrote it in third grade instead of listening to the teacher. I was the only person who ever read it, because nobody could read my horrible handwriting. And all that writing served me pretty well through my school years. It kept me from getting bored in class, and the whole time I was writing my books, it really looked to everyone else like I was listening, but I really wasn’t. Or I may have been, at some subconscious level.
Every so often, when I was really thinking hard about what to write next, I would look at the teacher with a practiced, inquisitive stare; the kind of stare that projected to everyone that my soul was a thick, superabsorbent sponge just waiting to absorb all the knowledge in the entire world. And it was like the teachers’ hearts would melt. They had at last encountered a student that listened — and took notes! Amazing! They figured I must be really, really smart and they gave me good grades. And every year, blessed with six hours a day of writing time, I wrote an even longer book than before, until finally I was trying to cram my ideas into these huge and heavy 625-page tomes.
So you might be thinking, I’ll bet I’ve read some of this guy’s books! He must have published several dozen of them by now! But alas, no, you have never read my writing before, because I am so hard on myself. The truth is, I am a horrible writer and an even worse self-promoter, so I never even tried to get them published. And don’t feel sorry for me; they were really a bunch of crap the world is better off not seeing. Really.
Mostly my books were an exercise in bringing several characters to life that I later realized were different aspects of myself, interacting with each other on the page. I realized, I was trying desperately to understand who I wanted to be, and what I was going to be like.
And the writing went pretty well up until the point when I was a teenager and I discovered girls. So after that, my writing really only happened when I had to try and figure out what the trickiest girls were all about. And as luck would have it, I ran into some very complicated young women.
Now I am a grown-up. I still work with computers as a software developer, which is really cool and the best part is that they actually pay me for it. Awesome! When I was about twelve years old, I started programming. I think I got into computers because I really wanted my own R2-D2 and I figured I could probably program one since I couldn’t find them for sale anywhere. I liked to explore what a machine could do, so I liked to exercise its sounds and graphics, and think up neat things for it to do.
I also didn’t like going outside very much. Something about the sun and the air made my eyes burn, and I could only handle it in small doses. Besides, I wasn’t an athlete or a budding sports star–mostly because I never took the time to watch sports on TV or understand the rules. So I often found myself on the computer, writing books on my first word processor, called EasyScript, or programming for fun.
I realize I’ve painted a pretty boring nerdy picture of myself thus far, so let’s change things up and give my character a bit of a Bohemian edge. When I have the time nowadays, I really like to play guitar, mandolin, piano, bass, and banjo but I don’t play any of those things well. I like to write a diary of my thoughts, but I don’t do that well either. I love to sing in the car and in the shower, but I really don’t sing well. So what I lack in talent, I seek to make up in gusto. I love stories, hearing them, reading them, writing them, telling them. Stories are like the only currency of value in my world. And I love food. I like to cook food, to eat food, and to take pictures of food. And the best kind of food is ice cream.