This piece is written to analyze and pin point the factors in my life that made me decide to try and be a writer. Those who know me well know that there are several events that established my mind for being creative. However, no one knows all of them. I’m going to reveal the unknown factors that influenced me to be a writer, or at least the ones I feel comfortable enough to reveal.
I’ve mentioned publicly that “a combination of medication and lack thereof, dreams I had experienced in the previous months, different literary works I was studying in Freshman High School English and, of course, just being young” were the driving forces that caused me to begin writing.
I hope to go into better detail about these in this piece and open up my mind and heart to the general public.
Let’s go back to November of 2002. I was fifteen going on sixteen. It was a very turbulent time in my life. I didn’t get along with my parents. I was forced to take medications that were no good for me. I was a poorly performing student. However, I had and still have a wonderful sense of humor. I wish I put my humor on display more nowadays like I did back then. There are people who have gotten quite close to me, in recent years but never once saw my funny side. I regret not showing them. Anyway. Fellow classmates recognized my humor and while some truly appreciated it, while others mocked me for it. I liked getting laughs and being somewhat of a comedian, but never truly trusted anyone. I was told that by many that there was a female classmate, who was a few months younger than me, had a huge crush on me, but assumed this was just a cruel prank. She seemed to be way out of my league and not really my type anyway. Still, from time to time, I would think of her, a lot and even have romantic dreams about her. Come to think of it though, she always appreciated my humor. I’m not naming any names in here for everyone’s sake.
It was a partly sunny/partly dreary Saturday in November of 2002 when we learned that my maternal Grandma was in the hospital with a bladder infection. The hospital was Ochsner Main Campus in Old Jefferson, which is a suburb of New Orleans, yes there’s also, I think, another Old Jefferson, which is a suburb of Baton Rouge. We all came to visit her in the hospital. What I learned that day though, is that the whole New Orleans area, especially in the Autumn and Winter seasons is very inspiring and provoking not just to writing but all other forms of deep thought and art. I first realized this on that very Saturday. I still had no idea at the time that I was going to write a few months later. While visiting my Grandma in the hospital, I contracted some bug. That Monday, I was running a high fever, feeling debilitating chills and had a persistent cough. I had the mother of all respiratory infections and it caused me to miss a week of school. That next Monday was the beginning of Thanksgiving Break and I was still a little under the weather, but was eventually started recovering.
During that week, I had a dream about the aforementioned female classmate. In the dream, a hurricane was approaching our area and our high school was being used as a shelter. We were together in the dream at school, riding out the storm. At some point, I am bitten by a poisonous snake and had to be airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio, Texas. I wake up shortly after that, shocked and confused. This was a little less than three years prior to Katrina, by the way. I spent the whole day meditating on that dream. I do have recurring dreams of being bit by snakes, for whatever reason. I guess because I kill them every chance I get. I also wondered if this was some supernatural instruction to pursue this girl, though I never once did.
The following week school had resumed for the three week stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas break. Being a poorly performing student, I made my first F ever for the quarter in one of my classes. I was so ashamed of myself, that I had planned to run away from home. I planned on sneaking out of my bedroom window and going to New Orleans. I packed a bag and hid it under a coat and just planned the whole thing out. What stopped me was the over-sedating effects of my medications, I was dead asleep in my bed and in no condition to run away. A school counselor found out about my desire to run away and talked me out of it that morning. I was able to bring my grade up and pass for the semester and then passed the whole year. I never failed a class totally all throughout high school, Thank God.
A few days prior to Christmas I had received a scanner that could tune in what the police were saying on their radios. I felt so powerful and smug when I used this device, for obvious reasons. While listening to my new scanner that night, I learned of a girl, who was a little older than me having medical issues, a severe asthma attack if I remember correctly, and her parents wouldn’t get her help. I desired so much to help her but couldn’t do anything, because I wasn’t old enough to drive yet. That’s how I entertained myself, though for the longest time after that was listening to a police scanner. I still never once dreamed that I would become a writer.
On January 2, 2003, I made 16 and it was as if a mental change had taken place. This could have also been factored in with the medication I was taking.
In January and February of 2003, my sister had to go to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans and I would tag along, usually with my scanner. There was so much to listen to on there at the time that one could be entertained for, literally for days on end. Hurricane Katrina and cheaper cell phone plans had taken a huge bite out of scanner traffic in the New Orleans area. I also got to walk around Uptown New Orleans and was amazed at all of the beautiful, European-style architecture. It was definitely awe inspiring and provoked deep thought. I always hated going back home.
Also around this time, I had a dream that entailed a girl and I on the run in a city that was a futuristic version of New Orleans. I made it into a very short story, known as “A Sorrowful February” a few days prior to writing this piece. That dream was probably the catalyst that would make me want to be a writer, though I still had no desire to write, even then.
Sometime in March of 2003, I was supposed to be doing volunteer work for Key Club, in Downtown Houma, but there was no one to direct me. Instead, I went for a walk through some of the old neighborhoods. The architecture of Downtown Houma, while nowhere near as grand as New Orleans is still very charming, I must say. To a slight degree, it reminded me of New Orleans. I even watched an old house being renovated. After I went home, it was the strangest thing. I logged onto the family computer and began looking at pictures of trains on the Huey Pierce Long Bridge. Aside from the fact that I had enjoyed trains as a young child and also recently learned that I could hear them on my scanner a month prior to this, my train interest had become dormant and would be until I was twenty-four going on twenty-five (2011), but that’s another story. I remember seeing one picture of a train going across the said bridge during an afternoon thunderstorm and was heavily inspired, though I had no interest to write.
Also in March of 2003, I became intoxicated for the first time on a bottle Jack Daniels I had stolen from my parents. There is a piece on my blog about that as well, known as “My First Time Drunk.” Read it if you will.
In either late March or early April of 2003, I was taken off the medication. I really think I was put on it, to begin with as a punishment, from a cruel psychiatrist and fed up parents but no one will admit that. I didn’t really need medication until I was seventeen and had several misdiagnoses prior to that.
There was a slight difference in me, being free of any and all chemicals which made me more lively. Also, my emotions were stronger and rounder. That medication may have influenced me some, but the lack thereof probably did as well.
On the evening of April 10, 2003, I made my first attempt at writing something. I was in bed with all sorts of emotions and vibes floating around in my mind and heart. It was the culmination of the previously “combination of medication and lack thereof, dreams I had experienced in the previous months, different literary works I was studying in Freshman High School English and, of course, just being young” coming alive that night. I wrote my first story of a teen couple massacred in a school shooting. I posted it on a secret webpage, for several reasons. A few days later, I remember telling the story to a couple of friends in PE class. Then, there was indeed a school shooting in Louisiana and the few people that realized I wrote about a school shooting just days prior, seemed to be in shock and awe, but soon brushed it off and forgot about it.
Right before Easter Break 2003, I had to do a composition for English class. The teacher was impressed by it that she wanted to know if I did this “for fun.” Word about my secret web page had gotten around the school and neighboring towns. She pulled up my personal page, not my secret page, Thank God, in front of the class. I could have easily been expelled, arrested or committed that day, had I linked that secret page to anything that identified me, for the simple fact that I wrote about a school shooting.
That’s as detailed as I wish to get at the moment on what made me want to become a writer. I hope this has been informative and entertaining.