> What was/is the motivating factor that caused you to begin to write?
(from a question originally posted on BWRC Collective)
There were three main factors that caused me to start writing seriously as a form of expression:
- At the age of 7, I discovered a love for Art and had begun to dabble in comics and cartooning by the age of 9. I loved the concept of telling a story with illustrations. By the age of 10 I had applied for (and received) my first Copyright.
- At the age of 12, my father had brought home one of the early personal computers, an Apple ][+ (circa 1981). This gave birth to my love for Computers and led me off into a world of programming as well as doing rudimentary graphics (programs like Photoshop didn’t hit the market until 1988 while I was in college).
- Sometime before my 14th birthday was the first time I had ever been questioned by the FBI. Because my parents didn’t fully understand what all could be done with that computer, their idea of “parental supervision” was being secure in the knowledge that I wasn’t out running the streets. Instead, my friends and I had become computer hackers and almost all our mischief involved a keyboard and monitor. By the time I was 18, if I had been arrested for all the computer crimes I’d committed I would have been in prison until my late 20s or early 30s.
The stunts my friends and I pulled during our teen years in the 80s were borderline the kind of stuff that most other people only saw in movies. Granted, the computers weren’t as flashy and the closest we ever got to a Pentagon computer as a “SAC” newsline, but the thrill was just the same, especially once I got my first laptop and went mobile. Even a decade before most people had ever heard of the Internet my friends and I were already communicating with other hackers on global computer networks and there seemed to be no end to what exploits awaited us. For me, it was like living in the digital equivalent of the Wild West, and between the stories I lived and the stories I heard, they were better than fiction. During my freshman year, among the books I’d chosen to analyze for English Lit class were “The Price of the Ticket” by James Baldwin and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” by Hunter S. Thompson. Baldwin spoke to my deep craving to explore and understand all the facets of being Black in America. Thompson spoke to my inner social commentator and the unpredictable, often freewheeling cyber-criminal misadventures I was usually getting into at the time. Together, both authors spoke to my understanding of being an American, an African-American and my Love (sometimes Love-Hate) relationship with this country.
The resurgence of my need to write as an additional creative outlet was born from that — and it has yet to go away. Today, Writing, along with Art and Computers, make up the creative triad that keeps me going, career-wise and on a personal note.