Don’t Call Me A Writer part 1

I am not a writer.
Don’t call me a writer.
Stop calling me a writer.

Being called a writer notes a matter of distinction.
You earn the title of a writer.
I haven’t earned that title yet.

I am no more a writer than Jack Kevorkian was a reputable doctor.

Calling me a writer is a slap in the face of true writers who work their asses off day in and day out to perfect their craft. Writers who hustle to get published or publish themselves. I admire those brave people who do not ever give up on their writing.

A true writer tells THEIR story. The way they want their story told.
A true writer writes for themselves.
A true writer creates works of art after many years of practice.
Trial and error.
Crash and burn.

These men and women are fearless.
I say these things out of immense respect.

Not because I’m a fanboy.
But because I am in complete awe of the sheer determination, balls, and the God-given talent these people have to become writers.

But this…then…stands the irony of agreeing to not call me a writer.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer.
And I dream of one day earning the honorable title of writer.

I got the writing bug early in life.
I started writing when i was 11 or 12.

I remember sitting in my room when I young making up storybook adventures about my teddy bear and my giant stuffed dog Rags that my Uncle Bernie gave me for Christmas one year. I would always write short stories in the privacy of my room. In fact, I turned my closet into an office.

A sanctuary.
A war room.
A private fortress of solitude of creativity.

A lot of time was spent in that closet. I made a makeshift desk constructed from boxes in my closet. I brought in my desk lamp for a bit of light. And I scattered my stuffed animals around the closet playing my captive audience.

In these early stories, I wrote about myself going on incredible adventures with my stuffed dog Rags and my teddy bear. Rags was the moral compass. He was the voice of reason. And, for whatever reason, my teddy bear would always meet some sort of a gruesome fate. These were storybook adventures inspired by whimsical childhood imagination. I wasn’t always the hero. Sometimes I was the bad guy. And through my actions i learned valuable life lessons. Lessons like talking to adults with respect or sharing is caring or being nice to people. There were always consequences that came hand-in-hand with the successes. A family member died. A cop was shot. I was sent to my room for an eternal time out because i told a priest at Catholic school to fuck off. Something horrible always happened.

This early laboratory for writing I created became a positive outlet for me as bullying at school became more and more intense. It became a welcomed, positive distraction from self-harm. Punishing myself for feeling like I deserved the bullying. I didn’t want anyone to see the stuff I was writing about. I made my writing very private. But my friends, the stuffed animals who were scattered around the closet playing my captive audience, were always supportive and cheered me on as I wrote.

As I grew older, my writing became dark. Really dark. The subject matter in which I was writing about began to scare me. A lot. The writing in my later teens became an outward projection of my anger…seether…hatred for those who were persecuting me.

Copious amounts of violence, murder, and rape. Think the graphic novel “Preacher” but no necrophilia or child yuckiness. Buckets of blood and chaos splattered over a canvas of white, college ruled notepaper like Jackson Pollack creating one of his paintings.

After writing a couple of essays for my Freshman high school English class, my English teacher suggested that I submit a story to our high school newspaper. After reading that first piece, the faculty advisor of the newspaper encouraged me to take her journalism class. She said that, with a bit of seasoning and mentorship, I could become a really great writer and journalist. She said I was highly inquisitive, smart, and always trying to find out what made things tick. How things worked. And always trying to find out the answer to everything.

That lovely woman gave me the confidence to start writing for the high school newspaper. My first story for the newspaper was a short sports story about the high school baseball team. The second was a review of “Live Like A Suicide,” the EP Guns ’N’ Roses released before “Appetite for Destruction.” That was my first interview. Although most of the interview never made it to print, I had a lovely, extensive conversation with the rep from Guns ’N’ Roses record label. The third, and the most difficult, was a story about a low-income housing project in Yonkers, NY being torn down and replaced by expensive high-rise apartments and condominiums for the rich. I had two or three conversation with a writer for the New York Times about the housing project. What it meant to the re-invention of the city. And why Donald Trump was the devil incarnate.

In the midst of the newspaper writing, I wrote fiction at a fever pitch. Especially during these weird ultra-hyper moods that I couldn’t explain. When I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 (clinical mood disorder) at age 17, I took full advantage of these every six weeks manic swings. Everything I wrote was fucking awesome. Or, at least, that was what my manic bipolar mind was saying to my growing ego. And, in turn, my ego loved to be fed.

After high school, I started to focus less on fictional writing and concentrated on hard news and opinion pieces for high school and college newspapers. The one piece a was really proud of was a sports story about the Edmonds Community College baseball team playing a double-header in Vancouver, BC. I wrote a few opinion pieces stories for other community colleges, University of New Mexico, and then Washington State University as well.

Two of my professors at WSU said that I had natural, raw talent that, if cultivated correctly, I could be a prolific writer.

But even then.
With all these positive affirmations, I hated when people called me a writer.
Really, really hated people calling me a writer.

Although I am currently writing a novel and from time to time I write short stories, these works of fiction may not see the light of. Lack of confidence. Depression. Or maybe I am using excuses to not be put into a situation of being negativity criticized.

But do not, for any reason, called me a writer.

I write blogs now.
Not often, but I do write blogs.
I like to write blogs that matter to me.
Subjects that are close to my heart.
Topics that fascinate me.

I never have a plan while writing. I just write whatever comes off the top of my head.
No bullet points to draw from.
No research to be made.
No elaborate construction of thoughts.

I just write.

If I really like a piece, then I take weeks of re-writing, editing, and trying to make the piece as perfect as possible. If I start wring a blog and I hate it, it gets shelved. Immediately. And may never be revisited again.

I don’t publicize my blog all that much because I’m rather modest when it comes to writing. I’ve been asked that “if you’re really that modest, why have a blog to begin with? After all, you’re a writer, right?”

I maintain a blogging website because fuck you.
I liking writing. It’s therapeutic for me.
And it’s a healthy outlet for me.
Always has been.
Always will be.

And I hate self-promotion. I fucking hate it. With a passion.
I really fucking hate it.
Call it modesty. Call it laziness. Call it what you will.
But I hate publicizing my blog.

True writers promote themselves with respect to their art. They do not spam people or become annoying with their advertisements. True writers explain their art in such a way that a non-writer can know what the hell they are talking about. True writers tell you how much their book costs, where to buy it, and a few words to describe what their piece is about.

I feel since I am not a writer, why tell people about?
But publicizing my blog is the only way I can share my work.
And so I play the game because I have to play it.

I usually just send out a tweet and a Facebook message letting people know I completed a blog. Nothing beforehand. If it is a blog post I’m really proud of, then a few days later I’ll let people know about it again.

If someone comes across my blog site, reads my work and likes my stuff, then that’s really awesome. I’m eternally grateful. I am humbled by this. I couldn’t be more thrilled that someone actually gives a fuck about my writing.

Jack Kerouac said once, “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
In my case, I hope that one day I can feel that confident.

But for now…I am not a writer.
Stop calling me a writer.
Don’t ever call me a writer.

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