I’m coming to grips with the fact that I am a writer.
(I desperately want to clarify that statement in so many ways, but as hard as it is for me, I’m going to let it sit there as it is.)
When I was in middle school, my parents and I had a meeting with my guidance counsellor (who provided neither guidance, nor counsel). He said that to go to college I needed to taken lots of math and science classes. So I did. I took four years of math and 5 years of science. And from that point, some part of my 8th grade brain decided math and science meant smart and everything else meant, not as smart.
So when I went to college I took more math and science classes.
The problem was, I wasn’t all that gifted in math and science. And didn’t enjoy them at all. They stressed me out. (I would leave my freshman class Physics class early 3 days each week to go back to my dorm and watch Jeopardy with my friends.)
It was around this time when I learned that I didn’t have to take any more math and science classes. So I didn’t.
The problem was I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. (refer back to my lack of guidance and counsel.) I liked to read and I actually liked the writing and research assignments in my classes, but no one had ever told me I was good at it.
The summer after my freshman year of college my uncle Jack sat around the fire with me one night while we were up in Rhode Island on vacation and talked to me about his business and invited me to be part of it down the road.
Having someone take that kind of interest in me clearly mattered because I switched colleges and declared myself a business major.
About a year into the program, a political science professor, who taught a class for business majors told me that the paper I wrote for his class was the best anyone had ever written…I figured most people in the business department went into it because they didn’t like writing papers…and since I did, that gave me a leg up.
A year later an English professor, in a writing class for business majors wrote a comment on one of my papers saying that I should consider a career in sports journalism.
That was totally out of the blue. And I decided that as a senior in college it was too late to change majors.
If future me, could send a note to 1987 me, it would tell him to set up a meeting with that professor, hear what he has to say and how he suggests I get started…and losing another year or two at school won’t be the end of the world.
Later that year I realised I hated being a business major. But in six weeks I’d have a degree.
Oh, and uncle Jack and I never had another conversation about his business.
Yet, despite all that, I have always seen myself as a business person…that is what it says on my diploma.
Several years ago when people started writing about cultural creatives I had a couple of thoughts:
- These are the people I connect with and hang out with…including my wife.
- Wow, I think like them, “even though I am not a creative.”
And I’m not a creative because, remember, I’m a math and science/business person.
Although I write less now than I did before we left Ithaca. (Or perhaps, it is that I share less of what I write that I used to) it was over the past year where it finally hit me that I am creative. I am a writer. I’m no (fill in the blank), but I can write.
Now, I don’t make money off it. But that isn’t why I write. I do it because I love doing it.
This is not me saying I regret what I do now. I don’t at all. I love what Liz and I have been able to accomplish together. Journalism would have been an enjoyable and easily transferable vocation to help support the stuff Liz and I have started over the years. (although come on, covering the Red Sox on a regular basis would have been a blast…so on some parallel world I have a desk next to Alex Speier and Chad Finn.)
Anyways, hi, my name is Bob and I’m a writer.
Also published on Medium.