How I Got Here

I’ve been reading for a very long time, probably my whole life. I don’t remember the very earliest stuff, but there’s a good chance it involved some kind of book and some kind of reading. My parents liked to tell me that I taught myself how to read, which I’m still skeptical about, but I was reading beyond what a kid my age should be reading from the start.
Writing was also a big part of my life, and always has been. For as long as I could hold a pencil, I was telling stories with words. They weren’t all very good—in fact, I’d venture that exactly none of them were good—but I was writing. Putting pen or pencil to paper and creating some kind of world with nothing but my own imagination was the most thrilling feeling to me. I couldn’t give it up, no matter how hard I tried. Grades suffered, parents got angry, teachers shook their head at my untapped “potential”, but I kept going. There wasn’t anything else but the writing, and if I wanted to be a writer, how could I do that if I didn’t write?
During my high school years, I read everything I could get my hands on—fantasy novels, science fiction, terrible manga, terrible comic books, classic comic books, secretly classic comic books that more people should read (*cough*Milligan/Allred x-comics *cough* the fact that they don’t get the recognition they deserve is criminal *cough*), literary fiction, old books, poetry—just all of it. I played a lot of RPG’s too—KOTOR II and FF IX were favorites of mine that I played over and over. I discovered George R. R. Martin and devoured the first three ASOIAF books in rapid succession (still waiting on that one). Neil Gaiman’s Sandman showed me that comics could be more than superheroes. Watchmen showed me that superheroes could be both more and less than superheroes in the most moving and heartbreaking ways possible. Fiction and creating it were all I wanted out of life, and that seemed to be moving somewhere.
And in all that time, those 4 years of high school, when I saw Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, and dug through piles of used back issues of comic books, I started to create my own heroes. They were little more than rips of other characters—a Cyclops copy here, a self-insert mutant who could touch Rogue skin to skin without being injured there—but the ideas kept flowing out of me. I made little teams of teenage heroes, each with their own *extreme* power, and called one of them…
[I’m doing this for 1.) dramatic emphasis, and because 2.) I’ve only typed this out a few times before in public, and 3.) it has never gotten easier or less embarrassing.]
Tiem Pzycotik. Having no internal editor or sense of shame, I pressed on, fleshing them out and making more and more stories. There was a world being created, and I didn’t want to lose it. Superheroes and all of their flashy and not-flashy powers, set against villains who were evil zombie-robot-samurai or just plain mutant zombies, or even just a guy with a robot suit and a bad attitude. It was all mine, it was all here, and I was going to stay on it.
Life got in the way after high school. I made several mistakes in trying to figure out my place in the world, first listening to too many outside voices and shoving myself into a place where I didn’t fit. I tried to study music for about a year, had a nervous breakdown, and failed miserably. I came back to my parents’ home as a failure and a disappointment.
This story is really getting away from me, I think we’ll have to continue it another day.

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