Check out my submission for this great contest : You are a writer; When did you know ?
While I started dreaming of being a writer at age 12, I didn't start referring to myself as one until 30 years later.
There were many obvious signs that I was and am meant to be a wordsmith.
Twenty years ago, I was fired with this closing statement: you write well and this will take you far.
I have had honorable mentions for my writing (a semifinalist award for my short play, Breakfast for Dinner)and been invited to leave NYC to perform in a San Francisco Theater Festival. I jokingly refer to my opportunities to see the world via my writing skills as weird and some type of mishap.
I created a whole gang of reasons as to why I was not a "real" writer: my plays weren't as brilliant as Shakespeare or angst-ridden as Tennessee Williams, I couldn't turn a phrase as cheeky and flippant as David Sedaris; I was not as powerful and prolific as Baldwin nor as courageous and balls out as bell hooks nor as magical as Morrison or Marquez.
Even while I created many wonderful and highly distracting reasons for not claiming my birthright, I continued to write and always found myself drawn to movies and their real power which was storytelling which comes from the "writing".
Even when I thought music was my thing, I obsessed over lyrics.
When I viewed movies and tv shows, I was always most focused on the writers and not the actors.
It always fascinated me that writers could connect the seemingly disconnected.
That with some thought and focused attention worlds could be created with their own sets of rules and governship.
We allow ourselves to be moved by them (worlds created by words) while knowing that they are untrue. We need the artistry that only the written word can provide.
While I resisted the urge to label myself a writer, I was writing and receiving a great deal of attention for my efforts. Many times I found myself creating because I have been passionately moved and felt compelled to respond.
I've always known that I enjoyed writing and yet continued to wait for someone to anoint me with the title: writer.
Waiting backstage for my cue in San Francisco thousands of miles away from NYC where I had written and performed the same show three years earlier, I finally referred to myself as a writer.
What began as an interesting daydream at age twelve took thirty years of waiting, excuse making and self-created distractions before emerging as a right and an honest assessment.
Whatever I take on or decide to put in the world despite its guise (acting, singing, comedy, short stories,photography), it all begins with my love of story.
Story always begins with internally wrestling with what gets told and how.
Story is about unapologetically claiming worlds and thoughts via words.
I no longer need to apologize.
I am a writer.