Why I became a writer is the equivalent to asking an artist why they became an artist, or why a baby was born a baby, or why a cat became a cat. It just is. In this day and age of people pointing out we are born with certain choices and born without others the answers become clear that we just are.
I have ventured in many different paths since the age of twelve when I realized there was something different about me. While others kids were out playing for recess, I was inside the classroom playing with geometrical puzzles and holding the best conversations with the voices in my head. It just was; there was never a choice. I turned every and any situation into something dramatic, larger than life, and exciting, and the constant march of voices encouraged me all the way. I may have been an introvert, but I was never alone. For the most part, I assumed I was crazy and kept this to myself.
I failed every English class in high school and had to make them up in my senior year. However, I passed (with flying colors) Journalism, Creative Writing, Summer Youth Writing at USC, Poetry, and any other writing program thrown my way. My counselor scratched his head and asked me to explain. “I hate the boundaries of English class,” I told him. “But writing a story comes so easy.”
I blew away the instructors at the USC Writing program–I was only fourteen when I was asked to go. At any prompt they gave, I would have three full pages of a story in an hour, where others had half a page. I was disqualified from so many writing contests because my stories were too long. The other kids wrote short stories, I was writing sagas. In nineth grade I wrote a full length novel … there were no junior high writing contests for novels. Other kids were winning awards and off to competitions, I was nursing the callouses on my fingers after typing my 300th page. I didn’t need competitions or awards, I only needed to write.
One fateful day my favorite senior class teacher told me that becoming a writer would be the same as trying to be a rock star, famous model or actress. “Nobody ever really makes it,” he said. And so I stopped dreaming…but we are what we are. Over the course of 23 years I continued to “closet” write because I may have given up on my dreams, but my dream never gave up on me.
I became a writer because I had no choice. I was given a gift. And it may have taken me nearly two decades to accept that gift as mine, but it was always there waiting for me. There were always voices, characters, stories playing in my head. There was always a jotting down of ideas on napkins, the back of my hand, my blue jeans, my child’s diaper, and even the fog on the shower door.
I am a writer because I am.
I am a writer because my dream never gave up on me.