Hey everyone, Flobo here and today I want to do something different. And that something different is talk about myself!
What? I do that every week you say? Well…er…quit that logic! Everyone who writes can tell you it is a painstaking process. So much so that we are always asking ourselves if what we’re doing is worth it. That’s the plight of any kind of artist, but I think writers have it the worst.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemmingway
I could remember that I used to write short stories at a very young age. Actually, I would write little one page mysteries such as “The Mystery of the Missing Hairbrush” or “The Finished Kool-Aid Container Caper”. Part whodunit and part a log of the events occurring in my household, it was a cool way to spend a Saturday afternoon. You see, during the school year, my parents enrolled me in after school tutoring on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. It wasn’t like my brother and I were behind academically, we just went to enforce what we learned. Though my tutor Mr. Elliot made learning fun, the prospect of extra work was never popular with me. The other children got to play outside on weekends, but my mornings were different. I had a couple of hours of cartoons, then I had to head over for “lessons” from 10AM-12PM. If I was lucky, I usually got a Happy Meal on the way back home. By the this time most kids have already got their Saturday roughhousing out of their system; Saturday afternoons and nights were usually reserved for attending functions, or family activities. This is not a sob story, but a lot of Saturday afternoons were then spent home with the parent who was looking after me. When I wasn’t in the mood to watch syndicated television shows and movies, I turned to the pen.
To be honest, I chalked that whole “writing” thing to my childhood. It was just something to pass the time.
Fast forward to my college days, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad during the summer between my junior and senior years. I had always wanted to learn a second language, and the the two months in Central America was the perfect opportunity to try to learn Spanish once and for all. The long and short of that story is I have a decent Spanish vocabulary but I wouldn’t exactly call myself fluent. In fact, my time in Central America was what they called “total immersion”. All Spanish; All the time. While I admit learning Spanish is easier than say Japanese, a foreign language is always a challenge to pick up. I would get up and go to Language School from the hours of 9:00AM and 12:30PM. After fending for myself in the surrounding city for lunch, I went back to language school for a Spanish literature class from 2:00PM to 3:30PM. After that, I would go home to complete my homework. My host family that set up my boarding was instructed to not speak English, so I got a bonus Spanish enrichment even after school. Now I’m not complaining because these prospects all sound good on paper, but the first couple of weeks were exhausting. Since I wasn’t fluent, it was frustrating to try to express myself in another language all the time. To be honest, I have the utmost respect for people who come to the United States and try to learn English, despite the fact we don’t have an official language. I took my frustrations to an old notebook I had bought from a local stationery shop.
My first short story as an adult, IRONHEART, was born. It was an escapist story about a superhero. It’s not going to win any awards but I was proud of it at the time.
It was only when I went to film school when I realized that writing was my calling. You see, my film school divided the students by major (called “emphases” in common parlance). I was an film editing student so my emphasis was editing, for example. I had, over my first two semesters of school, compiled a small stack of short screenplays that I had become proud of. So proud in fact, that I wanted them to be made. I made these short screenplays available for the film directing students to read, critique, and eventually find some way to get these stories on film. Or at least, that was the idea. To say the reception from my peers was cold would be an understatement. I was so hurt that supposed academic equals didn’t even take the time to read or acknowledge my hard work changed my life forever. For instance, I pulled one story aside and directed it myself. The remaining stories I stacked together and they eventually became By The Ounce And Other Tales.
The rest is current events.
I haven’t really stopped since then. Sure the giant burlap sacks with the dollar signs on them have eluded me, but I’m content with what I do. Even though I’m against “memoiring“, I found a way to do that today. I apologize, but I guess the point of this week’s post was to show that it doesn’t matter the reason why you write, it matters that you do. I’m always trying to learn and better my craft, but I’m kind of proud when I look back and see how far I come. Though small, I beam when I say I have a small library amassed online.
Why do you write? Answer in the comments below.