Ayn Rand Changed My Life

The Writer in Me

The Writer

Everyday I write reviews, copy, or content for others, but when it comes to writing for me, I am lacking. I don’t know if it because I’m lazy, discouraged, or just afraid, but I have not been producing like I should. I love to read prose by skilled writers, and often I stop in the middle of a paragraph and just admire the beautiful stylized text by a talented author, yet I keep waking up and telling myself I am going to do better tomorrow. It rarely happens. Today I saw a documentary on the life of Ayn Rand, and stumbled on a quote from her that shook me to my core. In her early years before she had widespread success she journaled these words to herself:

 “From now on—no thought whatever about yourself, only about your work. You don’t exist! You are only a writing engine! Don’t stop until you really and honestly know that you cannot go on. Stop admiring yourself, you are nothing—yet.”–Ayn Rand

 Not long after this, her big break came. I don’t write on my novel for fame and fortune, although that would be nice. I write because something inside me compels me to tell my story. I want to share it, and at times it consumes me. Just a few weeks ago after my wreck, I had to go through the claustrophobia that is only experienced in an MRI machine. While laying there afraid and in pain I had a complete chapter form in my head, and I was so inspired developing it for just a few moments I forgot about all my troubles. Starting NOW, I don’t exist. I am only a writing engine! And I won’t stop until I really and honestly know that I cannot go on. Even if it is garbage, I am going to produce everyday and eventually it won’t be garbage; it will be my completed story.


Why I Don’t Fit Into Society

Blocks-1I have always felt like the triangle block being forced into a round hole. It might be due to my conservative, Pentecostal upbringing, or possibly because while my friends were praying-through, playing sports, or working on figuring out the fairer sex, I was oblivious to reality. I was off in my own world somewhere else, having the time of my life. Of course, maybe I was born this way.

I had a good childhood, and my parents were “normal” and loved me, so I don’t really blame anyone. I just ended up not pursuing my creativity. My teachers complained about me daydreaming and having difficulty focusing, but diagnosing and understanding someone with ADHD was not common in the 70s. I was always reading. I read every book I could get my hands on whether it was the KJV Bible, The Lord of the Rings or Lady Chatterley’s Lover (weird but true). When my nose wasn’t buried in a book I enjoyed watching Night Gallery, Kolchak, or Twilight Zone marathons.

However, an interesting turning point happened to my appetite in 1978. One of my uncle’s collected Old Time Radio shows and gave me a box of cassettes for Christmas. I discovered programs such as Suspense, Escape, Lights-Out, X-Minus One, I Love a Mystery, Dimension X, Mercury Theater, The Hermits Cave, and dozens of others. These shows introduced me to a variety of twisted and macabre adventure stories written and directed by people like Orson Welles, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, H.P. Lovecraft, Rod Serling and others. I suddenly found the theater of my mind on site in far away places, way beyond my middle-class church community. Daily, I bounded into lost cities in the jungles of Africa, or fought crime in smoky bars to rescue breathy redheads from the mob, or sometimes I rocketed to newly discovered planets in search of aliens. But my all-time favorites were the ghost-hunter stories when they investigated haunted houses or dark, native cults, preserved for thousands of years on hidden pacific islands.

This combination of sci-fi, Gothic fiction/horror, noir, fantasy, and adventure produced the off-center person I am today. It is kind of like my view on sexual orientation, it doesn’t matter if I learned this behavior or if I was born this way, now that I’m here, the mental concrete of my brain is pretty much set. After the economy crashed in 2007 I found myself jobless, with an obsolete telecom resume. Since I dropped out of college my first semester as a young person, I wanted to return to finish my education, so I took the leap to re-invent myself to pursue my creative side. It took insanity, courage, and a lot of support from people I love, but I have never looked back. I have done social media and writing web content now for four years, and although my ADHD still kicks my tail, I love what I do.

While society may reject my dark and out-of-sync tastes, I have found a place where I do fit in. My writing friends are my people. They give me honest criticism, they get my jokes, and most of all, they accept me for who I am.


Get This Straight, I Don’t Mindlessly Stir The Pot!

I Believe...

I Believe in…

Recently, I was accused of being an “attention whore.” Yeah that was the specific phrase used by one of my friends. This comment was inspired by some of my recent Facebook statuses about Global Warming, Homosexuality, Calvinism, and Americanized Christianity. While at first I was agitated, I took a step back to do some introspection, and realized this person had a valid point. Writer’s do not always have the luxury to hear feedback and give an in depth explanation of a position or motives. In my zeal for knowledge, I may appear to be trying to get people riled, but on the contrary I am genuinely interested in what each member of my audience has to say. Therefore, I need to do a better job.

Those who know me intimately; know I am an equal opportunity offender. I will publicly criticize and express my disgust for Polly-parrot- bleeding-heart-liberals, clueless-conservative-Tea-Partyers, and the mindless-lemming-fundamentalists-Christians. Do I think everyone falls into one of these categories? Absolutely not! In fact, I have been pleasantly surprised and encouraged with the tenor of my Facebook discussions. Many of my friends are great thinkers, and have really good logic and use facts to back up their positions. Each time I am willing to listen, I learn.

Aristotle recognized three primary elements of persuasion thousands of years ago:

Each of us builds a worldview based on these basic elements, but the lines of defining right and wrong become blurry when people use different methods to come to different conclusions. I have no intention of slowing down my discussions on diversity. If it offends you, just ignore it and chalk it up to Paul on another vision quest, but if you are willing to be honest and share why you believe/think what you do, I will do my best to understand where you are coming from. I don’t have to agree with people to understand them.