If you regularly follow this blog, you may recognize me from my countless comments here. As Jani put it, “I’m part of the furniture around here.” So I jumped at the chance to submit a guest post for this months writing journey theme.
As I inch along my tightrope toward publication, I’d like to say I was one of those writers who knew early on they wanted to write. The simple truth is I wasn’t. I’ve always been a creative person. I paint, draw, compose/play music, and even dabbled in creative writing growing up. I wanted to start a band and write songs. I taught myself to play the guitar and wrote a ton of songs, complete with lyrics. I had a whole album layed out, still have the recordings on cassette tape, but I never believed in myself enough to pursue it. And before you ask, no, you can’t hear my songs.
You see, I grew up in a less than ideal environment. We weren’t encouraged to explore our interests and become something great. We were supposed to get good grades and stay out of trouble. Nothing more and nothing less. My parents started a countdown to our eighteenth birthday since the day we were born. On that day, we were expected to leave.
My eighteenth birthday came and I did leave. I was the only one out of five children who made it that long. The circumstances are still painful. My relationship with my mother has never been the same.
I wandered through life working dead-end jobs in order to support the one person who really loved me, my sister and her newborn son. After a short time, my sister, whom I love very much, kicked me to the curb. She chose a boyfriend over her brother. With nowhere left to go, I enlisted in the military. The guy left my sister soon after. She found herself pregnant and I found myself in the Air Force. I never told her how much she hurt me. I don’t think I ever will. Deep down she knows.
I excelled in the military, just like everything else I put my mind behind. It was during my third year in the Air Force when I realized I wanted to write. One of my superiors wrote me up for disobeying a direct order which he never gave. I won’t go into specifics, but I will say I wrote a four page rebuttal complete with quotes from president Eisenhower, and general MacArthur. I showed the rebuttal to another of my superiors who promptly smiled and shook his head in disbelief. He said, “Remind me to never get on your bad side.” Needless to say, the paperwork all disappeared after a closed-door meeting.
Something changed inside me. I discovered my words had power. My inner writer was born.
About a year after, I sought out one of my favorite authors, Jeff Long. He wrote one of my all time favorite books titled THE DESCENT. On his website he shares stories of fans approaching him with great ideas for books. His response is always the same. He encourages them to grab a notebook, a pen, and sit at the kitchen table to write the stories themselves. Mr. Long believes we are all storytellers at heart.
Lightning struck. Mr. Long’s words coursed through every cell in my body. I was going to write a book.
That was 2004. As we all know, life often gets in the way of our dreams. That creative spark has never left me. I suspect it’s here to stay.
The very first idea I had for a book was a war between angels and vampires for control of heaven and Earth. Between military life and two deployments, I kept that idea tucked away and began writing a different story. There was something about that first idea that nagged at me. It wouldn’t let go. Many years later that idea has become my first manuscript.
I’ve learned so much about writing, and life since then. Much of it the hard way. In all honesty, I wouldn’t have it any other way. All of the pain and scars remind me what I’m fighting for. My whole life I’ve done everything for everyone else. This time I’m doing it for me, because I want to. Writing is a part of me. It’s who I am.
So I’ll continue to inch along my tightrope and eventually I’ll reach the other side. When the time is right. When I’m strong enough. And it will be the most glorious thing to ever happen to me.
For the time being, I’m right where I belong. Here, with all of you and I’m extremely grateful. I’d like to thank this blog and community for having me, and liking me enough to let me hang around. It means the world to me.
“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”–Frederick Douglass
Brian Taylor is a former soldier turned writer with a soft spot for the horror genre and black Labs. He grew up watching movies like The Evil Dead with his grandmother, which naturally led him to seek out horror in literature. It was then that he stumbled upon Dean Koontz, and he never looked back. Brian is currently hard at work polishing his first manuscript, but always has time to help a fellow writer. You can find him and Buck, his black Lab, at http://descentintoslushland.wordpress.com/