Of dissected frogs and why I chose to be an artist

For as long as I can remember there has never been anything else.

Well, except maybe for that brief time when I flirted with the idea of becoming a marine biologist. But  that was before I had to take some classes in actual biology. It didn’t take much more than that one class in 7th grade where we had to dissect the frog and then label the parts of the frog’s anatomy. Marine biology might have been fun  if I could force myself to wade through all the frogs and pigs to reach that particular goal line, but when given a choice between labeling the insides of dead animals or creating ear-splitting squeals and howls from my electric guitar, or writing a story woven completely from my own twisted imagination well…

Not much of a choice really.

On the page “Why I write” I talked a bit about that picture my mother took of me as a young kid  reaching up on tippy-toe for a typewriter perched on the edge of a table, as if I knew even then that I was destined to make words my living. Or at least that’s the best story I can think of to go with that shot. Another early hint was in 4th grade when the teacher, Miss Cannon, asked all us kids to write a short story. For most of the class this wasn’t necessarily an enjoyable endeavor, but for me I simply couldn’t wait. What other 4th grade kid do you know who read Bullfinch’s Mythology for fun?

I figured this was my chance to write my own Greek myth, and what I turned in, as I recall, was a ‘short’ story that ran on for about eight to ten pages. I don’t even remember what it was about, only that it was so much fun I couldn’t stop writing because the story wouldn’t let me.

I don’t say – because I don’t have the right to say – that all writers are born and not made. There may be some very fine writers out there who have reached a certain level of proficiency more by study, discipline and dedication than by the prompting of any sort of inner fire, and even those with the inner fire know they had better nurture it with hours upon hours of honing that craft at the risk of losing it to the wind. But what I will say is this; if you’re a writer?  You know it.

And there’s nothing you can do about it.

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Writer and musician.

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