reply to post by beezzer
Great post, Beez. Thank you for sharing.
I have been writing since I was 8 years old. I am not even sure why I started in the first place, or what my initial impetus was. Perhaps it was a
teacher, who somehow taught me to love words and be moved by them? Or maybe it was a singular event; a particular book which prompted me to choose my
own adventure, and I just chose unwisely? It doesn't matter. From a very early age I wrote and drew and sang and made songs. I couldn't help it at
first. Though I always had plenty of friends, I was happiest with blank paper and pencils.
I began as most do, through mimicry and in enthusiasm for the art of others. My grandmother used to bring me butcher-paper in large rolls, 2.5" on
the side and I would roll the paper out across our dining room table, find a starting point and just draw. Soon I was creating my own characters, and
my own worlds. No longer satisfied to just transcribe a copy of a cherished record or D&D module, I begin to create my own fictions. By the time I was
14 I had a "band," wrote and illustrated books, and was well on my way to creating my own worlds.
If it sounds ideal, it isn't. I could have fallen in love with anything; money -- in particular -- and the desire to have and accumulate it might
have been a far more useful obsession. I skipped through school like a child, and though I delighted my teachers (especially my art and english
teachers!) I wanted out as soon as possible. I graduated early and spent an aborted year at the local community college, laying down the groundwork
for degrees in philosophy and physics, as I promised my mother I would, but found I had no heart for it.
Soon I dropped out and moved to Hollywood. For about 15 minutes in 1991, I was the principal songwriter behind one of the biggest "bands" in LA. I
dove head long into the world of a starving artist, and got exactly what I deserved.
Years went by, but somehow I lived. I grew up; late, perhaps, and -- in my late twenties, settled down and started a family. Suddenly, I *needed*
money. I found it easy to get at first. I think that everything comes easy to me at first, but by the early 2000's, my professional skill-set -- once
highly prized -- was falling away, as new technologies rose to replace those which had carried communications forward for a half a century. I was
I have two beautiful children, and a wife who encouraged me to return to my art. She is so much stronger then I am. We have struggled, but I have
returned to school to finish my long neglected degree. I have started writing songs again, and though I never stopped writing stories, I have returned
to them with renewed purpose and vigor, thanks -- in part -- to ATS, and posters like yourself.
My happiness is bittersweet, however. My 14 year old daughter, smart as hell and oozing talent for all things "art, writing and music" has really
blossomed in the past year. I have a friends who work professionally as illustrators, and they comment that her talent -- while still mimicry -- is
already far more developed than many grown ups they have worked with.
I want to encourage her, but it is hard. I am afraid for her. She is obsessed in the same way I am obsessed. Her art drives her, and not the other way
around. I wish I could warn her, turn her away from art and down a more productive, or at least more steady path.
Last night I awoke, as I often do, with a wisp of a song on my lips. I checked the inventory and discovered it was original. I raced downstairs at
3:45 in the AM to preserve it to my computer, and -- when I had finished -- I kept writing. Soon the light had come up from the east and I could make
out shapes in the living room, outside the pool of light from my tiny computer screen. My daughter sat on the couch, watching me. She told me that she
had awoken about an hour before I came down, full of inspiration. She had just finished a new picture when I came down the stairs, so she sat in the
darkness and listened as I recorded the new song, and watched as I began to write. Afterward, she had dozed off, and woke only because I was watching
I am proud of her, and she is proud of me, but -- perhaps, this post can still serve as a warning. If writing or music, or art is your hobby, tread
lightly. There is a fine line, out in the sands of dreamtime, and if you cross over it, your hobby may transform into something altogether more
If you aren't compelled to go down that road, you would be wise to turn back now. There are easier paths to where we are all trying to go. Our world
holds few external rewards for artists, and perhaps that is as it should be. Don't choose art if you still have the power to choose anything else.