I won the Young Author's award in elementary school. My little masterpiece was titled "Baseball Fever" and centered around a young boy who lived and breathed baseball only to have a Mother who despised the game. The idea for this story came from a book I had read only a few months earlier. That book was titled "Baseball Fever" and centered around a young boy who lived and breathed baseball only to have a Father who despised the game.
Despite my innocent plagiarizing and complete unoriginality, the process of writing and editing and imagining acted as a catalyst for me. I was hooked, having found something that drew my zeal as much as trading cards or the uncharted forest behind our house did.
As the story goes, the depth and consistency of my writing always seems to coincide with the depth and consistency of my reading. During boyhood and high school, my stories involved adventure and sports because that's what I was reading. In College, studying religion, my reading took a textbook and non-fiction turn, which meant term papers and essays on matters of theology. Following College, I wrote sermons. Mixing scripture with historical context, culture and other ancient texts is one thing. Making it applicable and accessible is another. While I no longer preach today, I am indebted to what it taught me about perseverance, deadlines, rough drafts and how to push through the blinking cursor.
It wasn't until moving to Los Angeles five years ago that I really discovered fiction and creative non-fiction. Suddenly I was introduced to riveting memoirs and breathtaking novels and memorable travel essays - writing more beautiful than I had ever experienced. I devoured as much as I could, from Hemmingway and Steinbeck to Krakauer and Klosterman.
This, of course, has shaped my own writing immensely. The creative and technical bar has been raised considerably and I have found myself struggling to keep developing my craft ever since. This is one of the reasons I'm so excited about this workshop. I long to be in closer proximity to other writers and to polish my skills.
I'm currently working on an essay about living in Downtown Los Angeles and several ongoing pieces about being a new father.
Also, I no longer write books based on other books.
I'm officially part of my first writing workshop...this is the intro we all had to write that answered questions about our writing history. I put it on the blog more for my own archives than anything.