I’m not sure on the statistics, but I assume my words published/pages (not) read before I turned twenty stat is uncommon among my other scribbling friends.
The truth is that I read LITTLE while in school, something I took another ten years to forgive myself for.
See, I assumed that no proper writer – whoever they are – was poorly read – whatever that is – and it seemed clear my status as the latter would forever harm my ability to be the former.
My writing has 100% developed positively as I’ve rallied as a reader these past twenty years. Whether graduate studies on Othello or the book that led me to meet my wife, the written word has served me well. No doubt.
But this does not mean that my having not been a reader made me insufficient beforehand, though I was crap at Trivial Pursuit.
Sure, there were also other embarrassments. It turns out that people who only know sentinels from the X-men, who only know big words via Joey Potter can occasionally muck up other uses/spellings of those same words.
Yes, life was difficult before reading, and life is more open since it.
But none of this is to say that I wasn’t always into storytelling.
No, that passion developed much earlier.
I found stories on television (including both the WWF and the WB, no less), in comics, and – perhaps earliest of all – in rock and roll.
Now if you’re sitting there doing the Math and wondering a) my age and b) the era of music I may have been most influenced by, you may be in for a shock.
Beatles? No. Stones? Sorry. I’m even too young for those earliest moments of Aerosmith/Frampton/KISS/Queen.
No for me, while my musical journey began on Duran Duran and the Thompson Twins, the formative years all had a bit more…. hairspray.
My most influential chapter was the mid-80s, you see.
As such, while I believed in Story, Jon Bon Jovi was a far bigger influence than Steinbeck or Hemingway.
So now I write a bit, and I find myself thinking about influences from time to time.
One of the fruits of knowing other writers, and especially of blogging, is that I no longer feel any shame over these original mentors.
In fact, I’ve long wondered about exploring the influence that these early examples of narrative had on me.
That I’m doing so now is equal parts nostalgia, social sciences, and writer’s block.
No matter, for all topics are worthy of exploration, no matter the initial motivation.
Writing is many things, but it is perhaps most often a series of highways all leading to the heart of one’s origin story.
That being the case, I welcome you to mine.
There will be guitars, there may later be superheroes. It seems either way there’ll be spandex.
What follows will be, as all before it was, my story.
I’m grateful you’re along for the ride.