The art of induction

by twinink on August 1, 2010

I never thought I’d be a writer.

I mean I’ve always written, as far back as I can remember… all the way to the chocolate sprinkle days of Mrs. Derby’s kindergarten class… my hands retained the stains of ink and paper.  In 1st grade, while the other kids curled in the apostrophes and question marks of siesta slumber, I tucked myself in the hidden nook behind the lego bins and sneakily pulled picture books from the toy-shelf.  I was obsessed with story, with the wild dreamscapes of Chris Van Allsburg’s The Wreck of the Zephyr, or the imaginative possibility of Harold’s purple crayon.

I wanted desperately to write.  I dreamed of inventing my own stories, of having my words spun into worlds that could carry you right off the page like so many stringless kites.  By ten I was writing short fantasy stories of errant knights and broken kingdoms –shameless plagiarisms of C.S. Lewis and L. Frank Baum.   But the thought of being a writer never crossed my mind.

In fact, when people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would earnestly reply… “a flying squirrel!”  That seemed like a much more likely possibility than writer at the time.

Even years later when I was called up to receive the Koon Chew Lum Prize for excellence in writing at my middle school graduation, I thought “this is a mistake.”  Then they handed me the $1000 award bond and a thousand lightbulbs exploded in my twelve year old skull.  “Wait” I nearly screamed, “I can get paid for this?”

Six years later, my brother Jordan won the same writing award as a high school Senior and I finally breathed a sigh of relief.  “Of course” I thought to myself, “now he’s the REAL writer.”  Even after four years of studying poetry in college, after holing myself up for three months in the wintery northlands of Japan to write my first screenplay; even four more years after that and seven screenplays later, after developing a raised pterygium on my eye from reading too much; even after quitting my job as a teacher and moving to Los Angeles to pursue writing full-on… I still never considered myself a writer.

It took me another 15 years from that 6th grade scholarship before I made another single cent off my words.  And only after selling that first script, when I had the check in hand, did I begin to restructure my conception of self as writer.  And strangely, it has nothing to do with the money.

You see for me, the true definition of a writer is someone who inspires the attention of an audience.  I write because I want to envelope the imagination of a receptive reader and ignite something within them. To spin them into a web of worlds and feelings that enliven the experience of  everyday existence.  But a writer without an audience is like Peter Pan with no shadow.  I can twirl and parry and fly around the room with all the poetic flourish of phrase, but without the contrast of a witness I am nothing more than a dancer performing to an empty room full of mirrors.

As a screenwriter, no one reads our words until they are up on screen.  And that can be years between completion and production.  Many scripts never see the light day.  And yet, the funny thing is over the years countless people, from family to complete strangers, have treated us like full-fledged writers.  With blind sincerity they’ve proclaimed their unconditional support: “we know you’ll be successful, you guys are great writers.

On the one hand, I am so humbly grateful to have such a communal safety net of encouragement.  But there is a part of me that wants to take them by the shoulders and shout, “How do you know?  You’ve never read a word that we’ve written!  We could be lousy writers.  We could be serial killers of the lyric poem.”

The fault though lies not with our faithful fanbase, but with the disparity between interest and accessibility.  Until now, there has been little forum for the curious to find and read our work.

This website then is a retaliation against that sensation of undeserved acknowledgment.  Here at last you can read our words, whether they be poems, snippets of scripts, film reviews or general musings on the art of writing and the craft of living well.

We hope you will read and, unlike Pan’s shadow, decide to stick around… (even if we need to stitch you to our feet to ensure you stay).  After all, our words are merely feathers and wind unless they live through you.

2 comments

it’s about time!

by mina on August 9, 2010 at 5:25 pm. Reply #

Hooray! I’m so excited to see where this journey takes you. So proud of you both.

by Miki DeVivo on August 10, 2010 at 7:58 pm. Reply #

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