I started writing in high school with a group of amateur writers that met once a week. It wasn't that I thought I had a gift for writing; it was more like I was forced into it, at least initially. In my old school, everyone was required to join one club, and none of the other clubs that were still open interested me. I really wanted to join the theater group, but they were already full.
We were a bunch of freaks really; a small circle of outsiders who never belonged to any clique. We had the nerds, the dorks, the geeks and one fabulously handsome gay guy (guess who that was). We also barely had anything in common. What bound us was a collective weirdness and a sense of pride in the fact that we were so misunderstood. In our heads, we weren't losers, we were deep, so deep we were beyond our time. It made getting through each day that much easier.
Kalen wrote poetry. I was struck by the maturity of his point of view. There was one poem about Dorothy and Toto that blew me away, and the initial emotion I had after the lyrical roller coaster he put me through was envy. I wanted his talent. I wanted his ability to create something that had meaning for someone else.
I first tried writing poetry. Even then I knew how mediocre they sounded. You can only use "abyss", "darkness" and "emptiness" so many times before they start to irritate.
(A friend once showed me a poem and asked for my thoughts. I read it and immediately zeroed in on the words "abyss" and "darkness". I don't know what it is about adolescence, maybe it was our limited vocabulary, but it seemed the only metaphor we can find for sadness was a lack of light.)
I hated the clumsy way I handled words. I decided to write fiction, and realized I had marginally more talent in that medium. I figured I could work on that.
As I grew up, my approach to writing evolved (or devolved, depending on your point of view). I started to look at writing as a way to become successful, reading young (at the time) authors like Jessica Zafra and Luis Katigbak. I especially loved Katigbak's book "Happy Endings" and the short story of the same name. It inspired a ton of literature on my end that tiptoed the line between inspiration and plagiarism.
Perhaps it was my approach, or maybe because of a primordial need for approval, the idea of writing as a means to become successful possessed me. To create wasn't the end, but only the means for other things I wanted in my life: fame, acceptance, love. It made me miserable. I wrote always with the view that this must be accepted by my target market. I was looking for a niche I could exploit. At some point, I stopped being an artist and became an advertiser.
For every poem or short story I wrote that got published, there were a dozen others that got criticized to pieces in creative writing workshops. Writing isn't for the faint of heart, and if you use it as a means to seek success or approval, be ready for a lot of disappointment.
I stopped writing, at least the type of writing in its most creative sense. I worked in a magazine and wrote reviews of cellphones and laptops. It wasn't fulfilling work, but it was fun, and the office hours were great.
I came upon Livejournal the year before I started law school. I've heard of blogging before but never really understood that particular internet subculture. As I read through random blog after random blog, I saw that everyone is a little bit of an adolescent inside: each post is a scream, or a nudge, or a poke for acceptance.
Everything clicked into place. I realized that I truly am misunderstood, but so is everyone else. At the end of the day, everyone just wants to make a connection.
And so this is how it begins, and why I am writing again. I blog for meaning and (some) acceptance. I blog because I want to be able to create something that is significant for someone else. I blog because I want someone to understand me.
Photo taken here.