It's a funny thing we do, this writing business. Writers are creatures of contradiction. We're dying to show our work to others, but may crumble when someone offers an opinion that is either contradictory or critical of our expectations. It's excruciating, soul-wrenching work that can destroy your self-esteem and rob you of sleep. So, why do I write? Why put myself through this? The answer is simple. When I'm not writing, I'm not happy. It's something I have to do.
Born in Littleton, New Hampshire as the third of five children to a hardworking mother and father, I have always had books in my life. I read every night and still remember the two bookshelves that stood in the children's room full of images and words that took us on fantastic adventures to far-off places. Growing up with only four television channels (ABC, CBS, VPT, and NHPTV) there really wasn't any alternative. We played outside and we read. Even as we grew up and technology slowly crept into the North Country, that influence held sway. During junior high, I devoured hundreds of books a year (mainly Star Trek novels) and after beginning my freshman year I wrote my first original story. Well, original might be a bit of stretch. I totally ripped off Babylon 5, but it was 33 type-written pages and featured a plethora of characters and some kick-ass space battles. I was damned proud.
Come senior year, my ambition grew and a second, larger story took shape. It was based off the Warcraft II computer game (I openly acknowledged my inspiration this time around) and totaled 88 typed pages. The characters were a bit more complex and I started to address mature themes. Quite the challenge for a boy that had barely left the North Country and wasn't even old enough to vote.
The experience of drafting and creating these two stories was life-changing. When asked why I spent so much of my time writing these stories, I couldn't give any other answer than, "I love it." My course was set and I graduated high school, bound for the University of New Hampshire and a Bachelor's in English. Here's the odd thing; after four years studying for an undergrad degree, I lost my drive. I lost my love. While the vast majority of my professors were encouraging and supportive there was one that seriously undermined my confidence, and not in a "I'm challenging you to be better" way but a "I really don't like what you write" sort of way. Quite suddenly my thoughts went from, "I love it" to, "Maybe I'm not that good at this." That doubt stayed with me for a long time. I graduated in 2003 and did not write again until 2005. During that time, I was miserable and didn't even realize it. Thanks to the prodding of my father,the steadfast support of my beautiful wife, and the seemingly simple gift of a leather-bound journal, the words came back.
I filled the journal, and then another. Forty-three pages of manuscript were slowly wrung from hesitant fingers, but I had started. The final push came when I joined Southern New Hampshire University's MFA in Fiction Writing. The next two years (2007-2009) were spent honing my craft, finding my own voice, and realizing that I could in fact write. The end result is a book I'm proud of, characters I care about, and a story I'm dying to tell. It's written to the best of my ability and with a genuine care for quality. So, with that contradictory audacity we writers seem to possess, I present my words to the world. I have no idea how this is going to turn out, but I'm writing. And I'm happy.