Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Beginnings Blogfest

L.G. Keltner is coming up on her one year blogging anniversary and, to celebrate, she's hosting a blogfest (wooohooo!!!) centering around...well...beginnings. How did 'such and such' get their start...things like that.

In my case, I'd like to talk about how I got started writing.

Waaaay back, when I was just a kid, I used to draw. A lot. Now, these weren't necessarily good drawings...mainly superheroes and stuff...but I really loved doing it. The walls of my room used to be covered with my own "originals".

 I also liked to read. A lot. In fact, family legend has it that I taught myself to read before I entered Kindergarten by watching Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. My mom loves to tell the tale of how my teacher asked her what sort of 'program' she was using with me and she just laughed saying they had "bought me some books".

Both of those things, I think, sparked my imagination and set me on the path of wanting to create. Whether it be in the form of images or words, I've always liked 'telling tales'.

In high school, I took a creative writing course that most took as an 'easy credit'. I took the class seriously, much to the joy of the teacher, and was encouraged by his comments and critiques. I easily sailed through the class and kept writing in my spare time. Again, not much of note and I don't really remember any of the stories...but I was writing.

When I graduated high school, my graduation presents were

  • A suit (for job interviews)
  • An electric typewriter, with correction more white out...yay!! (for typing up resumes)
As you can probably tell, my parents were very "Go out into the 'real' world and get a good job!" oriented.

I wore the suit a few times, but really used the typewriter. To tell stories.

I used to have an old shirt gift box that served as my 'filing cabinet' for all my tales, but was thrown out in one of my many moves.

In college I randomly took an "Intro to Magazine Writing" course, the professor having been an editor at the Cincinnati Enquirer. I remember one night (it was a night course...get your mind out of the gutter), she stopped me as I was turning in a quiz.

"Hey, just curious, what's your major?"

"I'm not sure yet....I haven't decided."

"Have you ever thought of journalism? You have a unique writing style."

", I haven't...but I'll give it some thought."

After some thought, I figured it might be something I'd like to pursue, so I declared my major in Journalism. I minored in eating lunch in the cafe'.....they had some goooood food on campus.

Though I never graduated college, I always enjoyed the courses and found the whole process of writing/Journalism very interesting. After a while, though, I became a bit jaded with Journalism, dropped out of college and went to work in 'the real world'.

I'd still write every now and again, when something would spark my imagination, but never really thought of doing much with it until the past few years. Again, it's like something clicked and I wanted to find my voice and put it out there.

Out in the 'real world'.

So that's the exciting tale of how I got started putting words on paper and hoping they'd at least make sense, if not entertain.

Thanks L.G. for hosting this great blogfest idea :)


Julie Flanders said...

It was fun to read your story and I'm glad to meet you through this fest. Love the title of your blog! :)

Mark Means said...

Thank you very much, Julie and great meeting you, as well. Glad you enjoyed :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You're right - it has to click. When it does, it's easy.
Loathed the typewriters without correcting ribbons.

Mark Means said...

Heh, same here Alex. I, usually, wound up with more 'corrective ribbon' on my fingers than on the paper.

Always appreciate you dropping by, thanks!

Azara said...

I started university life as an English major, thinking I might become a journalist, but ended up becoming an accountant. I found that getting so far in the technical aspects of writing really killed my enjoyment of both reading and writing, so I switched majors.

Visiting from L.G.'s blogfest - nice to meet you!

Mark Means said...

Totally know what you mean...Journalism had, almost, the same effect on me. I'm glad I got out of it, but still regret not graduating. Ah well, maybe someday!

Great to meet you, as well and thanks :)

Timothy Brannan said...

That is a good blog title!

Enjoyed your story.
I only took one English/Writing class in college. I kinda wish now I had taken more.

Tim Brannan
The Other Side
The Freedom of Nonbelief

Mark Means said...

Thank you, Tim :)

Classes can be fun, but I feel you learn more just by doing. You probably didn't miss much.

Mina Lobo said...

Hiya, Mark. Popping in from the blogfest. I have to say, my mind cried a long, "NOOOOOOOOOO!" when I read the bit about losing your shirtbox of stories! I think my heart actually hurts a bit at the idea...I know I wish I'd saved all the stuff I'd written when I was a kid, if only for the nostalgia factor. :-)

Mark Means said...

Haha, thank you Mina :) On the bright side, though, I don't think it was much worth missing. Like you said, maybe for nostalgia...but not much else :)

Amy Jarecki said...

So glad to hear that you stuck with your writing. Sometimes life gets in the way, but it's always something you can go back to!

Mark Means said...

So very true, Amy! Thanks for the comment ;)

Suzanne Furness said...

Oh I loved my first electric typewriter! It made a fabulous sound as you struck the keys and of course you could correct mistakes at the click of a button.

Mark Means said...

Haha, yeah...I had mine for a good while. Of course, this was back before the days of home computers and *gasp* the Internet! :)

L.G. Keltner said...

I've lost a lot of stories through the process of moving and other such life events. It happens. I also took my high school creative writing class seriously while a lot of my classmates slept in class.

Thanks for participating in my blogfest!

Mark Means said...

My pleasure, thanks for coming up with the idea. It was just the prompt I needed for today :)

Christine Rains said...

I was in love with my first electric typewriter. I was forced to go to the basement and use it, but I didn't care. The spiders and I created so many stories together. Thanks for sharing your story with us, and thank you for following my blog. :)

Jennifer said...

This sounds a lot like my own writing journey: Early encouragement from teachers, the gift of an electric typewriter (mine was a Christmas present when I was in 7th or 8th grade), loads of stories that disappeared over the years, even not graduating college, lol. I wonder how many writers have similar stories.

Mark Means said...

My pleasure Christine :) Oh yes, I was banished to my room when I wanted to use mine....those old things sure got loud.

Thanks for dropping by!

Mark Means said...

Wow, possibly more than we think have the same story. Very cool :)

Trisha said...

I'm totally jealous of any country that offers entire classes in creative writing, or even entire degrees. So very jealous. I did have a few classes at uni, but you could only do them two years out of a four year degree. Sucked.

Trisha said...

Actually not just two years, but two SEMESTERS.

Mark Means said...

Ah, that does stink Trisha....though on the job training can be so much better than anything you can learn in an institute of "higher learning"...just sayin' :)

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