I love a good origin story when it comes to the hero. BUT I am NOT going to bore you with the biography of my “exciting life”. I will however key you into the start of how someone like me turned to wanting to write in the first place.(so perhaps I may still bore you but I will try to keep it exciting by throwing lots pictures at you so your brain doesn’t get too tired with my ramblings.)
I will start out my “story” with a question. WHAT shapes a person in life? That brings up the next question to me, Nature or Nurture?
To me the logical answer is both…duh? -
See those guys there above in the picture? They are my brothers of which I have two of. I am the one on the left (with the cool lean going on ). They definitely shaped my life. Mainly because I was the middle kid of that trio growing up. I looked to my older brother (middle kid in pic) to guide me in what I thought was the way you should act as a boy, guy, a man, because our father died when I was twelve and he was all I had for a role model.
In the end, he only taught me how not to act, to which in itself now that I look back,was helpful. My younger brother only ever gave me a sense that I failed him somewhat because I think he looked to me, somewhat like I did to my older brother; for some direction. This time growing up with them was pivotal in my mind because it made me realize that if you want to find the answers to a problem when people are depending on you, you have to do it yourself, because no one else was going to do it for you.
The next picture above was going to be a picture of my mom. But I thought better of it, because she’s not the focus really in my little story, just a character to the side really. Instead, I wanted to show my escape that I went to in the early years before and after my dad had died. My family life was in shambles from probably the age of four. I remember the fights, the plate smashing, the bitching by my mom, in how life was never good enough or how we lived in a hell-hole. (I loved my hell-hole of a house by the way..I knew no different) . I only remember my Mom in all this because my Dad was always the quiet one. He just would sit there on the couch or at the dining room table and listen to her rants until she calmed down which always seemed to end in crying.
So I escaped ….I would watch shows like Creature Feature, Twilight Zone, Buck Rogers, Speed Racer, or Scooby Doo, ….I fell into the stories and the more the fantastic the better. The more removed from reality, the more engrossed I became and nothing could take me out of it. I was in that world while it lasted. These were worlds that I could understand more than the ones right inside my own home.
As I grew older, I’d say about ten years old, I came to love comic books. I discovered them in a little book shop across the street from our new apartment house (first of many to follow) in one of my mom’s flight to get away from my father . For 25 cents and up, you could purchase a world where anything was possible and live vicariously through the eyes of a character and see what they saw and know what they thought. Needless to say, by the pictures above, my favorite character in comics was Spiderman. But the thing is, like I am sure like many other fans did, I identfied most with Peter Parker, his alter-ego. He was smart,determined, didn’t fit in because of his awkwardness, had an Uncle Ben (father figure) who had died and they were poor. Spiderman cracked jokes all the time. So yeah, I identified with him more less. And yes, I am corny, I did believe in the phrase “With great power comes great responsibility” line. I still do to this day and it shaped many of my decisions more than than once in my life. Not saying I’m a superhero jumping off buildings trying to save people. I’m saying you could have the power of hurting someone’s feelings with the wrong word or you could instead instill in that same person a sense of something to boost their pride or keep their spirit going…everyone has value ….yeah I have always been a sensitive kid that way (to a fault at times).
The next logical progression after comic books for me was books…oh those magical books…I love the person who founded the library system and screw that YA author & actor Terry Dreary, who recently stated that libraries are not relevant anymore. I was a poor kid way back when and besides shoplifting I couldn’t have read a quarter of the books that I read in my younger years without that glorious thing called a library card. Those books saved me. Where my brothers found escape in running the streets, shoplifting, fighting, smoking, or drinking, I found it in words. They wrapped around me like a cocoon where I grew and grew inside. They helped form inside me a vocabulary, a world, and a mystery only I was privy to.
I hit my teen years where life divided me into two worlds….those of my friends who to me ,had everything I didn’t, to a family at home which was slowly disintergrating before my eyes; my brothers, my mother, and me to a degree. Where once I was kid who found possibilities, now I saw only wanting an escape. Home was not a comfort, it was a prison, a sentence to ride out until school or I visited my friends at their home. I developed a complex about everything from the gap in my teeth, to the way I would sometimes stutter when really nervous, to the clothes I wore, and the place I lived. I never had friends for a sleepover because I was embarassed about my family and home. I always felt inadequate to the task; never quite good enough for the rich kids or smart enough to fit in.
So I studied and I studied. I got smarter. I forced myself to beat back the depression with knowledge and lose myself in asking the abstract questions. To question everything and challenge myself not to be led by others. I still didnt feel like I fit in, but I had begun to have better tools to see myself as not as a joke in their eyes but more as an equal.
After a few failed girlfriends and a couple of years in college I finally met the love of my life and married her….She turned me around (even though I didnt realize it at the time) and taught me the value of what life is. She taught me the value of committment and compassion and that things mattered. No more was my story mine now it was ours and I wanted to share my life with her….
Then he came along and made my life a living hell. You know I’m kidding…. But life was a worldwind for a bit…Those years of him growing up, were fast and furious , and for some reason, writing really never entered my mind. But as I went from one job to the next job, to the next job in my career I woke up one day and realized very strongly I didnt want the path I had chosen and that I felt I was made for bigger things than the lot I had fallen into.
I wanted more than the hum drum day to day life I was leading….so I went back to college and took Creative Writing & English Lit courses. I got in with other writers and talked with them and learned from them. I started writing. I started CREATING. Then that little butterfly that had waited so long to be formed and released from its Chrysalis broke out and flew. Now I’m blogging about my journey to be the next Stephen King or the next Ray Bradbury or the next Philip Wardlow….I may have come a little late to the train station but I caught the last seat in the car….and I’m settling in for a long trip.
A fellow blogger of mine, whom I follow and who follows me , over at Lily Wight The Arcade of Arts, tagged me and few others to answer some questions. I guess am it. These questions below were presented to me to answer as I see fit…perhaps you will get to know me a little better afterwards:
Q. Have you ever been obsoleted from your job and how did you feel about it?
I will say no. I have struggled and crawled my way into my position at my job and they can’t live with out me. Now, they come to the almighty Philip and wait on my every word. (Sure they do)
I loved the Electronic Based Board Game Dark Tower and I miss it till this day because mine broke awhile back and they no longer sell it anymore. It was the coolest board game hands down…it was way ahead of its time and still is for a board game…Monopoly has nothing on it. Pah! I spit on your grave Monopoly.
Q. When you look at the stars, what do you see?
I see a beautiful mystery & potential adventure . So much potential if we only play our cards right as a planet.
Q. When you look at the ocean, what does it remind you of?
Lost stories of civilizations come and gone along with a hidden world as vast as space.
Q. How do you overcome writer’s block?
Well, first I call it less a writer’s block and more a writer’s quicksand. Sometimes, I stop what I’m trying to write and stretch my brain on something else, like poetry, or I’ll blog, or a really good movie. Basically, I shift gears to something else for a bit then shift over to what got me stuck in the muck in the first place. Usually, that helps me drive through it till I hit the next bog in the road again.
Q. If you could say 3 encouraging things to another person, what would they be?
That it’s never too late. That doing something starts with actually trying to do it, and that if you make a mistake don’t beat yourself up over it, learn from it and move on.
I used to be all over the board, but I find I do like to write my poetry on paper first and refine it later on the computer. I will tend to scribble a few memo like notes of story ideas in a notebook and then take that to the computer to start the full blown story.
Q. Do you like writing in one genre or more?
I like to mainly write urban fantasy with a slightly dark aspect to it. I like to take a miserable character and bring the best out of them in that setting. I can apply that same theme through horror, or science fiction stories which I like to write as well sometimes.
Q. As a writer, do you think actions speak louder than words?
I think its a combination of both juxtaposed in a nice balancing act that brings out the best in your story and characters.
Q. What is your favorite quote and why?
Heard this from a friend who quoted Henry David Thoreau - “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation” - I found that line comforting in regards to my struggles with my writing and in my life.
I remember moving into our new house and there were curtains hanging over the front living room window when we walked in. My mom opened them up to let in more light into the room and two bats came flying out…it scared the shit out of my mom…but I thought it was the coolest thing…I was about three or four.
Again Comments are most Welcome…I would like to know a little more about my followers…(or passer-byes)
To all the “cougars” out there, shame on you for not calling yourselves “Thundercats” shame on you.
Credit to sammy morris
@themorris23 from twitter