Monday, February 13, 2012

Writing Journal: Origins



Today is the ORIGINS blogfest -- where everyone who has signed up gives the story of their origin as a writer.  This is mine...

In preparation for this blog post, I spent a huge chunk of time Saturday and Sunday looking for something that I wanted to scan in and include in this post.  However, after searching all the likely locations, and many of the unlikely ones, I did not find it.  It was frustrating too, because I had just run across it not that long ago.

It was an old wrinkled two-page story, typed on a manual typewriter in early 1972, with the less-than-entirely-original title, "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms."   It was the first real "story" I ever wrote, and I thought showing it -- with the misspellings and x'd out sections and misunderstanding of geography (the deepest point in the oceans is the Marianas Trench at actually just under 6,000 fathoms) of the 11-year-old boy who wrote it -- would be a great way to present my writing origin.

Instead -- because I could not find it -- you just get me telling you about it.  Not quite as fun, but the point is the same:  

 My writing "origin" goes back a long way.

I've always loved reading, and as an only child, I developed an imagination and the ability to make up my own fun, and so story-telling became a natural outlet.  There is no clear point where I suddenly turned into someone who wanted to write, but the process started a long time ago, and I think culminated in that first typewritten "real" story. 

Probably my biggest regret is that I didn't stick with writing more as I grew older.  In my early teens, I started drawing, and that took away from my writing  Then I started playing guitar, and that pretty much swallowed everything else and became my major creative outlet.  I played for hours and hours a day -- hunkered in my room, practicing scales, studying books, and playing along with records.  Then I joined some bands and spent most of my early twenties playing my guitar.  I still read, and I still imagined stories I might like to create, but playing music was the focus.

I took some creative writing courses during my early college years and really enjoyed them -- and I did the writing needed for that.  But again -- music and guitar pretty much swallowed up everything else.

Then in my later twenties I went back to school and got my engineering degree, and worked, and got swept up in life and relationships and career. 

It wasn't until 2008 that life settled down enough for an idea to pop up:  "I want to write a novel."  And since that time, I've on-and-off been developing as a writer.  I shelved my first early novel attempt and have been working on another since 2010, and it's gone through several revisions. But since 2008, "being a writer" has been a central goal.  So, in many ways, my Origin story really begins just a few short years ago.

But truthfully, it began in 1972, with an eleven-year-old boy clinking away on the old typewriter his grandfather had given him, creating a story of how a deep-sea monster destroyed a town.


21 comments:

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Those childhood dreams never disappear entirely; they just lose top billing when other things and interests get in the way. But they never die. I'm glad you've found your way back to writing again. Count me in as your newest follower. (Fun blogfest, isn't it?)

Chris Fries said...

Thank you Susan -- I appreciate your kind words!

Milo James Fowler said...

Very cool, Chris! I started out on a manual typewriter, too, back when I was 12, and my own journey to subbing/publication didn't begin until around '09. Life has a way of getting in the way sometimes, but it sure does provide us with plenty of material.

Chris Fries said...

Thanks, Milo!

You're right -- life is what happens while we're busy making other plans....

But this time I'm sticking with it. And I really love your work and glad you came back to it, too!

LTM said...

very cool story. I remember my grandmother had an old typewriter, and I loved typing on it. I don't think I wrote any stories worth keeping, but it was fun hearing the clack clack clack of that thing. ;p

I admire your determination. I've been so fortunate to be able to work part time and actually *have* time to write. It's even more impressive to me the people who really don't have time to write and still do. Keep swimming! :o) <3

Chris Fries said...

Thanks Leigh!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Chris,
Real writers bang it out on a manual typewriter and haul out the correction tape every time they make a mistake!

Okay, not anymore, but it's nice to know someone who remembers those days!

Chris Fries said...

Yeah, I'm a little "chronologically enhanced" -- I remember manual typewriters and rotary-dial phones... ;)

Thanks for commenting!

K. Turley (Clutzattack) said...

For this Blogfest I love reading the different stories between the people who view writing as race toward publication and others who see it more as a marathon--where finishing is really what counts.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Nancy Thompson said...

You have a great Origins story! I can't imagine using a typewriter, and I'm not exactly young either. You know, the one thing almost every Origins post has had in common is this one line: "I've always loved to read..." I think that says it all when speaking of our writer origins!

It's nice to meet you. I'm a new follower via the Origins bloghop.

Chris Fries said...

@K. Turley: Thank you for visiting! It was a fun blogfest, wasn't it?

@Nancy: It's very nice to meet you also! I agree -- to be a writer, you have to start with a love of reading, I think. Thank you for the visit, comment, and follow!

Matthew MacNish said...

Hi Chris. I'm just stopping by as one of the blogfest co-hosts, and am now your newest follower. Nice to meet you!

Chris Fries said...

Thank you for the visit, Matthew -- it was a great blogfest. I've met a lot of interesting fellow writers and have enjoyed reading the origins stories.

DL Hammons said...

Monster stories were the best as kids! Although I never wrote any, me and our friends acted out our own scripts. LOST IN SPACE was particularly featured!

Great ORIGIN story! Loved finding out more about your past. :)

Chris Fries said...

@DL: LOL -- flashback time! I can remember some Lost In Space fun too. Although, as "the smart kid," I always got stuck playing Dr. Smith. But under my control, he'd have a change of heart, stop being a sniveling sneak, and turn into a good guy fighting the aliens alongside the rest of the crew.

;)

Thanks for the visit and comment, Don! Great blogfest!

The Golden Eagle said...

I loved reading your story! :)

A lot of writers seem to have started with a typewriter. Makes me wish they were easier to come by nowadays . . .

Chris Fries said...

Thanks, Eagle! I appreciate the visit and the comment!

nutschell said...

I'm glad my aunt kept her 70's typewriter and I could use it in the 90's. We're among the few who actually started typing our stories on typewriters.

Great to meet you on this blogfest.

your newest follower,
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Chris Fries said...

Thank you very much, Nutschell -- I appreciate the visit, comment, and follow. It's great to meet you too!

Jeremy Bates said...

I remember manual typewriters and rotary-dial phones... ;) Thank for sharing your ORIGIN!

Chris Fries said...

@Jeremy: And it don't seem all that long ago, either does it? LOL!

Thanks for the visit and the comment!