Junior year, high school English class, the teacher allowed us to free write or gave us a topic and we would write opinions and then read them aloud. At the time my stepfather had moved out which was the beginning of the on-going “separated but not legally” period of their marriage. It’s still going on because my mother cannot afford to pay for all the divorce proceedings and everything else associated with the process. Coupled with teen angst and home drama I let my emotions rip in that class. It was liberating but more importantly, fun.
The class was set up in a circle along the wall of the room. Starting from the teacher’s left he would ask us to read what we’ve written. I sat in the middle, more or less. At some point I would ask for my turn to be delayed because I had so much on my mind but my hand couldn’t move fast enough. Plus I needed at least five minutes to edit the close to two-paragraph rant of the day. I also sometimes edited on the fly; while dictating if I didn’t like how something sounded, I worded it differently and then changed it up to make it sound crisper. Little had I known this would help me edit today.
It was after I stopped requesting my turn be delayed that the class collectively requested it be last. Most of the rants came from a dark place the anger for my stepfather created. Financial troubles at home also attributed, among other things. It was the first time I had garnered an audience, that what I had to say and how I said it, mattered. I even caught wind of my own work influencing other classmates in the way their tone changed or how careful they were to details. I not only think it had to do with how influential my work was becoming but the teacher actually held me to a high standard, even bragged about me to the other English faculty members.
Nobody in school knew I had already written a novel by this point, not even the teacher. Not that I wasn’t proud of the accomplishment but rather writing was something I knew how to do, enjoyed doing it, and also liked to keep it for me. At least at the time it was.
In my early to mid-twenties before blogging became a thing I had accumulated enough MySpace friends where I wanted to start getting my work out there because at 20 I had decided, while writing my third novel, that I would attempt to get that particular piece published. A close friend of mine whom I spoke with every day knew I would be posting a short story in the bulletin section once a week. When I missed a week she jumped down my throat wondering where the story was. Telling her there would be two for the following week made things better, and I always delivered. She was my biggest fan, the one person I knew who wanted me to write because she thoroughly enjoyed the work and critiqued it if it wasn’t up to par with what she knows I’m capable of.
How this friend reacted to my writing was the same way during my YouTube phase which originally started to get myself used to being in front of a camera because of silly fantasies I had- and still do- of becoming a famous writer. The same joy/thrill writing brought on creating videos gave the same euphoria. I had found a new and exciting platform to create with and, like in that English class, I had people who were looking forward to new work. One night while working in Times Square a stranger had even approached me to make sure I had been the one in a video he recently saw, giving props for having done a good job.
I don’t know if anyone frequents this blog hoping to see new work whether it be personal or fictional; I am thankful they found me, read my work, and maybe even consider coming back soon. The internet has a funny way of bringing so many like-minded people together but at the same time make a single person feel utterly silent. Too many voices with a plethora of platforms to speak on. How does one filter the noise? All I, a budding amateur writer, can do is hope mine is never silenced.