Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Introduction to “The Selfie”

A long time ago—many decades in the distant past—before I was an illustrator or a novelist or a screenwriter—before I was a stockbroker or a football player or a screenwriter—really, before I was much of anything else—I was a short story writer.

I wrote my first short story at seven years-old, a handwritten mega opus along the lines of, "How I spent my summer vacation". It garnered rave reviews from the teacher and fellow pint-sized classmates who sat at full attention as I stood before the class delivering my debut masterwork. Of course, it wasn’t really how I spent my summer. It was bullshit—or to use the more proper terminology, it was fictionalized drama. It was the first (and ONLY) time in my life where I realized that, “Hey, this might actually be something I am good at.”

And I did keep writing those stories in one form or another, although somewhat sporadically, all the way through the adolescence and into the college years where I took every creative writing class I possible could while still keeping my major “practical”, (Economics...yeah I know, bleh).

Recently I went on a Harlan Ellison binge, arguably one of the greatest short story writers ever. It made me want to go back and revisit some of those astonishing tales I spun so many years ago. While the search for many of them goes on (these were handwritten by me and the typed out by my Aunt in manuscript form, and nothing I wrote back then ever sniffed what would have been a very primitive computer at the time). But I did manage to uncover quite a few of these gems. And you know what? I have to admit, I was impressed.

How I managed to write all these stories with everything else I had going on is beyond me. But it inspired me to get back to my roots, to let go of my now fully-ingrained feature/epic mentality, and try to once again tackle the fictional form that was once the place for me to escape to and write the stories that I wanted to read, and nobody else had written.

So "The Selfie" is the first of many. Even if nobody else ever reads it (a very likely possibility), it will still be the first of many. Because you know what? I want to read them. Sometimes you have to write for an audience of one. And just like my seven year-old self said to himself those many decades ago, I really am pretty good at this.

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