How I Became a Writer

I was cross-eyed. I saw two mothers but had only one. Everything existed in reflected space. I liked to try to guess what was real before I reached my hand out to verify. I lived in a world populated by the actual and perceived.
I was raised on Vietnam and assassinations and hospitals. The possibility of miracles. The ravage of God. The holy presence of blood. And fairy tales. The old-fashioned kind; Bluebeard with his dead wives and the bloody key, Red Riding Hood swallowed by the wolf.
I started out in poetry. I sent out packets of poems and when they came back I sent them out again. They came back. I sent them out. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I worked at Pioneer Chicken and Disneyland. Eventually I became a pre-school teacher and then a kindergarten one. I wrote. I wrote at night. I wrote in the morning. Yet, no matter how much I wrote something was wrong with the novel I was writing.
I quit my job as a teacher in order to concentrate on my writing. I got a job in a coffee shop. Finally, I started meeting other writers. I served them coffee. They asked how the writing was going, but when I told them the truth, that it was not going well, they looked down at the sugar packets, or began to fold a napkin in little triangles.
Years later, after I started getting short stories published, one of these writers, a woman I knew only as a customer, leaned across the counter to pull me close and kiss me on the cheek and I still don’t know why.


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