This is an older blog, written for the first version of this site, and since I am starting up again I think it is a significant post for me.
I am someone who has come to realize that I have a voice again. Many years ago, more than I am willing to consider but must face, as I approach my fiftieth birthday, I had a dream of becoming a writer. I went to the University of Arizona where I studied drama, film, and then eventually poetry and fiction writing. I studied under mentors like Buzz Poverman, and within a community of students that could both ground and exalt you between one breath and the next. I graduated and, like many, tried to find a job to support my ambitions. It had always been the idea to earn a paycheck while I developed and built up my writing career. In the end I had to return home to my parents and go to Community College to learn a trade in order to earn a paycheck. But always in my mind, I was a writer. From that education I was able to seamlessly get a job and begin my life as a self-sustained adult. But always in my mind, I was a writer. Yet I stopped writing. Not consciously, but I never could quite find the energy or determination to write. I sustained the illusion of writing by studying the craft of writing. I probably have collected and read just about every book on writing written. I am not even sure now what I was looking for in those books; techniques, shortcuts, inspiration or just courage. I have always had a book percolating, an idea that continuously evolved, mutating from one form to another within the womb of my mind but never quite able to be born. I think I lost courage, maybe because I had little faith in myself; I lost my voice, maybe because I did not know what I wanted to say. I do know that, as the swift currents of time carried me relentlessly through each day of my life, at some point I stopped living in my imagination. I stopped beinga writer. That is an admission that I am just now willing to admit.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not whining about my life. It has been good. By every conventional view, I have to say that I am successful. And that I am pleased with my success and the maturity I have gained over the last twenty-two years. I earn a good living that allows me to live comfortably and still put money aside for rainy days. My job is such that I have been allowed to grow and advance professionally. It is a job that provides both security and yet enough challenges to jolt me out of my comfort zone every now and then. It is a job that grants me a certain respect from the people who work for me and the people I work for. There is respect and trust, if also a certain reputation. As a matter of fact the title of this blog I credit to my boss. I had written an e-mail in my usual style and had him read it over to make sure it included everything he felt was needed. He had me remove certain wording that, while wasn’t objectionable, left too much open for interpretation. Actually he wanted me to cut the word ruckus, which was a shame because ruckus is one of those words I had always wanted to use. But I absolutely had to agree with his reasons, to the point that I realized that not just the word but the whole paragraph, which echoed the context of the word, had to go. I tried to explain, but he cheerfully waved me off and said; “Yes I know, you were just being Chris”. Just being Chris!
A name is a funny thing. I think in this modern world, we tend to forget the power that is in a name. I was born Christopher, named after the writer Christopher Marlowe. But for the first half of my life I was Crit. It was how I was known to my family, friends, teachers and schoolmates. It was how I was introduced and how I introduced myself, without exception, all the way through my life until I graduated from the university. Then I entered the adult world of work and coworkers, paychecks and tax forms. And I became Chris. But I was not Chris, and I did not want to be Chris. Yet, slowly, I was forced to except being Chris. So Crit slept, while Chris grew up. The problem though is that it was Crit who knew how to live in his imagination. It was Crit who loved to live in stories and play with language. Crit is the reader, the writer, the observer and the commenter; Chris is the mask for the world. A strange duality, a strange contradiction, for it is Crit who has the voice and the stories, but it is Chris who, through the process of his professional life, has the energy, the courage and the discipline to speak.
So now we come to the mission of this blog. Chris needs to become Crit again. I need to learn how to be Crit and Crit needs the energy and discipline Chris has developed to do what I need to do, if I am to write. Let us face the truth here; Crit is most definitely a lazy butt! As an exercise, I started a journal over the holidays. The effort was your typical new year’s resolution that pretty much failed right after inception. Like I said, Crit is a lazy butt. But, interestingly enough, I discovered that Chris is a bit of a narcissus. The problem I found with a journal is that after all the effort of writing it, what then? What was the point…no one was ever going to read it! Even, most likely, myself! Can we say epiphany? A small one at least, for the problem I decided was that there was no obligation to continue the effort. Who would know? A writer needs to write, yes. But a writer also needs to be read as well. No one will read any journal I write, even accidently. But chances are that maybe one person might come across this blog and stay long enough to read. Having liked what was read, he or she might return to read again. I hate to disappoint. But again, how does this help me found the writer in me? Well, for the last three hours, I have sat at my desk and composed my thoughts; fed those thoughts into a keyboard and spewed them out onto a monitor. I free wrote just under twelve hundred words without looking back; expressing my thoughts, feelings and ideas fluidly and coherently. And now, without hesitation, I will post and publish this article for the entire world, who is willing, to see. Guess what…
I am a writer!