Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another LOTR rip-off? No thanks.

My Godmother is always telling me I should be writing. She thinks I should be a travel writer. I am certain this is because when her daughter, one of my best friends, was about to backpack around Europe I independently decided to create a full itinerary for her. The itinerary—which was initially meant as a study break from exam prep during the spring term of my senior year at school—turned into an in-depth 9-page (single spaced!) guide. I was just happy to share my experiences with my friend.

My dad always tells people I am a great writer. I am creative and articulate and expressive and all that good stuff. I don’t know that I agree. I would say I am average. I know that I am certainly more skilled than some, but definitely far inferior to others. Here’s what I am good at: writing how I speak. I write how I think and how I speak and I never intend to misrepresent myself. I am how I write.

For a long time I’ve wanted to write a book. When I was younger the books I wanted to write were always fantasy or science fiction. This was because up until the age of 18 the only books I read were in either of those genres (except all those classic books we had to read for school—I am longtime fan of The Great Gatsby and any Jane Austen). I can even recall a few attempts at some sort of epic fantasy tome that was really just a sweet rip-off of my favorite David Eddings series or Lord of the Rings.

In college my life changed. I realize that sounds incredibly clich├ęd, but it’s true—not in the conventional sense that lives change during the college years, but because during the fall of my freshman year, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. A year later she passed away. This was a serious turning point in my life. In my literary life it was as well. Going into college I had started to branch out in my reading choices. My mother loved to read, however her collection seemed a mix between Oprah’s book club, The New York Times’ Bestseller list, and the occasional self-help or women’s interest book thrown in the bunch. In the months prior to her death, the one book she did not stop raving about was Life of Pi by Yann Martel. We were on a family cruise in Bermuda and she would not stop talking about how the ocean and the cruise reminded her so much of Pi and his lifeboat. I had no idea what she was talking about, and when it came to my mother; the more she insisted I do something, the less inclined I was to do it. I regret that I did not read the book when she was still alive, because when I did finally read it, shortly after her death, I was deeply moved and felt an instant connection to the beauty, simplicity and story of the book. Life of Pi reminded me of a few important things. I remembered how much I loved the art of great storytelling, and that my mother really did know how to pick a good book. She always wanted to share her good experiences with other people.

Sharing experiences—this is something I learned from my mother, and a principle to my life now. That is why I am writing. I thought a book seemed like a great idea, but why not use a blog? There's no way this could be another LOTR rip-off; (I think I lack the creativity for anything really original in the science fiction and fantasy genre anyways), but furthermore, the subject I know best is me, my life, and how some basic principles have helped me to get through difficult situations and driven me to be a better person. Anyways, a blog is a little less daunting than an actually book, and I can do it in small bursts where I profess my love for Celine Dion or write long diatribes on the current state of American television (both these subjects will come later, I am sure). Really, I just want to share. I am a pretty lucky person, and happy with how things have gone for me. I feel confident that I know how to grow up and find a positive experience in just about any situation.

Then again, I am a self-proclaimed know-it-all and really have no authority in any of this. When I moved to Los Angeles about two months ago, I thought I would have some great job working in the mailroom of a massive agency by now. But instead, here I am, sitting in my Ikea-furnished room, frustrated that the Writer's Strike has seriously stalled my Hollywood intentions, but certain that I can take this time to do something worthwhile. Here goes...

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