1.26 Writers Anonymous

TORONTO, ONTARIO: The building used to be a church. The basement was full of people. Shuffling uncomfortably in hard plastic chairs, you know, the ones that only come in primary colours. Those fake kind of coughs, nervous clearing of throats. I stood up, eyed the crowd. “My name’s Paul.” A chorus of disparate and weak voices echoed: “Hi, Paul.” An anxiety filled pause. “I’m a writer.” The first step to curing a problem is to admit that you have one. With that first step, you are on your way to recovery. Awareness is key. I have a problem and this is the first time I have admitted it: I’m a writer.

It’s getting easier every time I say it.

Yes, you’ve heard it all before. I wrote my first short story in grade school. It was about mercenaries in World War II. I kept writing but quickly became enchanted with film. It was easier writing for film, there were so many more people involved with the final product. You could blame narrative faults on a multitude of collaborators.

Two years ago, I started writing a story. I didn’t intend for it to be anything but I diligently wrote everyday. Before I knew it, I had a 300 page manuscript called Dreams of Being a Kiwi. Half of it will remain locked in my desk drawer. The other half makes a good door stop. But it was exhilarating to complete a full project from start to finish. It was something I could truly call my own. And it was fun.

I started another book. I think it is better. I’m a relatively quick learner and have been showing chapters of this new book around. As stated in other categories of this website, I am working on the novel at the Humber School for Writers. I don’t know if it’s truly good or not – I don’t know if you could ever really know. But I’m having fun and the reaction is greater than any work I did for film. The novel is called The Walking Man and should be completed by December 2010. Or, that’s my deadline at the moment.

Honestly, I’ve been bumbling around the past few years, not really knowing what direction I should be going. Writing was my anchor. Writing was always there. It took me a while to figure all this out but I’m getting there. Also, if I could make a living doing it, well, that’d be something quite unexpected.

At the Humber School for Writers Summer Workshop, I met some amazing people. We connected over our words. Over the course of the past few months, my confidence has grown and I hope to connect with other people through words. I don’t know how the idea was planted in my head that this was a problem. But I am slowly letting go of that. I will probably use it in a story at some point because that’s what I do. I’m a writer.