Children always like to talk about what they want to be when they grow up. Some want to be a fireman, a police officer, or an astronaut. Honestly I never understood the fascination with running into a burning building or chasing a criminal down an alley only to get shot at. The astronaut thing I get a bit because it does seem cool, but I hated roller coasters so I couldn’t imagine how much I would hate being strapped to a rocket. Not to mention those suits look uncomfortable as hell.

I would be happy just to make it to the bargain table some day.

So no, I never wanted to fight crime, fire, or the feeling my man land changed its address to the back of my throat. I wanted to be a writer. I am sure there is some child psychologist out there waiting to get a hold of that one, it can’t be normal.

Here is the thing, I loved books. Growing up in the redneck capital of the world I needed an escape. Books offered that. Now I was never the whole “books take me away to a magical place” type of reader. Fantasy books were for someone else. My books allowed me to embrace normalcy or know there was a better world somewhere outside of central Arkansas.

Mostly though I had an appreciation for how a good author could kidnap you inside of a good story and make you forget that life existed outside the margin of a page. That is the type of writer I wanted to be. So I frequently as a kid would attempt to write a book which was never very good, especially at an early age when vocabulary but most importantly experience had not become fully developed.

So I settled for just reading. A lot. I kept that small seed of writing tucked away in the back of my mind. I always hoped some day it would grow. As the years moved on I never saw any growth. Eventually the current of life and a real job sweep you away and your childhood dreams become distant memories.

Recently I’ve been fortunate enough to know a couple of people who published (or are in the process of) books. Like, real ones that they sell in the store and on Amazon. About a year ago I ran across Kyran Pittman, and have had the opportunity to cross paths a handful of times again. She recently released a memoir book called Planting Dandelions that I immediately pre-ordered. Due to the mass onslaught of graduate papers that occupies the end of semesters I have not got past the first chapter. But if it is any indication the rest of it should be quite good.

More so than Kyran however is a friend John Jacobs (or Hornor, whichever is correct this week). John and I worked together at Aristotle for just a brief time, and I occasionally run into him in town. He managed however to have a profound impact on me that I never could completely describe. He is quite possibly the most creative person I have ever met, though I doubt he would own up the honor. John is also releasing a book this fall which (again) I immediately preordered.

I have found myself fascinated with local authors, even Kelli who has started writing enough books to fill a library (now if she would just finish one). It began making me believe that if people I know can do it, maybe there is some small chance that does not require being strapped to a rocket that I can as well. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, most likely too much.

The other day I went along with baby momma to a birthday party for someone she works with. I typically avoid these because I usually only know a handful of people. I’ve been stuck in the house a lot lately due to this pneumonia that will not go away, so I wanted to get out.

While there a coworker of Brandie’s that I had not seen in at least 4 years said to me “I love your blog”. It was a profound moment for me. I don’t dig too much into my site analytics, only glimpse at what type of post people read most (this is not that type for the record). I assumed it was always mostly my wife, mom, and a handful of friends that take turns subjecting themselves to my nonsense just to be nice. What I found was that there are people that I cannot account for who actually read nearly every post I write.

This whole blog idea for me was just a creative release from the stresses of grad school, jobs, and everyday life. I picked a topic that I didn’t think at the time would go away (it did for the record) and started writing. It took me through joy, to pain, to joy again and finally to whatever it is today. Somehow in all that mix up I’ve come to realize that my seed grew a little. I am no published author, may never be. But a few people read what I write and they actually come back with no obligation to do so. That is more than I ever expected. Thank you all.

 

 
  • Leslie F Taylor

    I feel the same way about my blog. I was so thrilled to find out that actual writers, real life GOOD writers occasionally read my posts.

  • http://twitter.com/kellimarks Kelli Marks

    If only I could finish one! I swear this one will be the one where I finally get to write ‘the end.’ But until then, I’m one of the people lurking around your blog. Sometimes I comment, sometimes I don’t, but I always enjoy what I read. I think of the 90+ blogs I follow (yes, really) that you are only one of three male bloggers.
    Interesting.

    • Anonymous

      I will believe it when I read it (which I expect to get an advanced copy of).

      Are you trying to call me gay?

      • http://twitter.com/kellimarks Kelli Marks

        Book is 50% written. Just did first round of edits.
        Gay? No. Just pointing out there seem to be few male bloggers. (Or maybe just that I like to read.)

        • Anonymous

          Can’t wait to read it.

          Just kidding with you. I can’t say that I read many male bloggers either.

  • preachergirlbarb

    Growing up, I wanted to be a writer. I used to write stories on my parents’ old computer, and even on paper in church during the sermon. 😉 Good times.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jbarket Jonathan Barket

    I wanted to be a writer when I was growing up too. There have been a couple of times when I was really fed up with programming and considered trying to make a transition. I’ve got more credits in Rhetoric and Writing than in Computer Science, haha.

    It really fascinates me how digital distribution has removed the barriers that traditionally keep people from being published.

  • http://twitter.com/johnhornor johnhornor

    Hey, thanks for the shout out, Greg, I really appreciate it.

    Got the news last week from my agent the my second novel was bought by Simon & Schuster. Big news in the Jacobs household. It’s called THIS DARK EARTH and will be released in 2012.

    And it’s HORNOR. Like horror, but strike the second R and replace with an N.

    Thanks again! You excited about the bambino? If you guys are gonna write a book, you better get it done now!

    • Anonymous

      That is awesome news John, not to mention a much larger publisher. Keep this up and you will have to quit your day job so you will have time for world book tours. (sorry about the typo, fingers think faster than the brain sometimes)

      It is sort of a mixed emotion right now. So many things are coming to an end in my life while others are beginning. Exited to see what this new life has in store, but a little nervous at the same time.

      I’ve actually thought about writing one. I’ve developed my writing skills quite a bit in grad school. I’ve learned the importance of connections in writing and tying things together. Instead of just writing at the beginning I do phases of outlines which helps me see the bigger picture of what I am writing. I have been in the groove of turning out 15-20 pages a month of grad work after revisions. Once I finish my thesis I might see if I can just keep the pattern going and produce something now that it is over.

      • http://twitter.com/johnhornor johnhornor

        Do it. At a certain point – where I was when I worked at Aristotle – I realized I’d been telling myself I was going to write a novel since I was 10 and had never done it. And that company was so creatively stifling, I was compelled to come home at night and write, just so I could release my pent up creative energy. So I entered the National Novel Writing Month and completed my first novel, though it took longer than just that November to reach an ending. And then another year until the book was suitable for publication.

        Anyway, you’re a smart, talented guy, Greg. I have no doubts you could write a novel. It’s just a matter of sitting down and doing it. And soon, you’re going to be very, very busy. But you won’t ALWAYS be busy. The big deal is figuring out the story YOU want to tell. If there’s anything I could say about what you should write is this: write the book you truly would like to read. If you love literary fiction and that’s all you read, then write that. Or if you read thrillers and mysteries and those are your favorite books but you think you should write literary – don’t do it. Never write to market. Always write to please yourself (but don’t forget someday you’ll want an audience).

        Anywho, I’ve made a study of novel writing these past three or four years and those are some of the realizations I’ve come to. They are, however, only true for me. The interwebs are full of writing advice – you have to figure out what’s good for you.

        The only truth in writing is that you’re not a novelist until you complete your first manuscript. That’s a big step. Gotta have that manuscript. That’s the deal.

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