"Someone just dumped a whole garbage can of orange peels out the window. They float very nicely," Teddy said without turning around. "That's interesting. I don't mean it's interesting that they float. It's interesting that I know about them being there. If I hadn't seen them, then I wouldn't know they were there, and if I didn't know they were there, I wouldn't be able to say that they even exist."
-Teddy by J.D. Salinger (1953)
In Kindergarten, Mrs. Augustson sent me to Special Ed because of my speech impediment, the result of a 4-year-long ear infection that garbled the input and so a few letters needed the pronunciation corrected. I had to work on my Ss, Cs, Ks, Ws, Rs, Bs, Ps, Ts, Qs, Ds, Xs, Ls, and Ns.
Every year in speech therapy, Scholastic gave students a hardback book with empty cream pages for us to scribble in as part of a schoolwide contest. I never won. The kid in my grade who did plagiarized If You Give A Mouse a Cookie and those biased, paid-off judges didn’t even mention my amalgamation of the Silver Surfer and the Human Torch.
Still, I kept writing, finishing my first novel in my 7th grade Physical Science spiral notebook where the narrator’s best friend was an orange alien with green hair named Carrot. My next novel about a boxer, I started in high school before I’d ever even watched boxing, and fighters called out their moves (“The Double Rocket Upper—no, wait! It’s a TRIPLE ROCKET UPPERCUT!!!”) like they were Pokemon.
No one taught me to write until my second year at college when Mr. Johnson called me to his office as he did with all his creative writing students and then he bloodied my first draft of a character sketch claiming that “It was just ink.” I almost cried. A few visits later, I’d written a character sketch about my sister’s divorce and the family dog. He crossed out a lot. Told me why. Then he scrawled an A at the top. It’d be my first published short story.
The pride felt earned for once.
While in Wales without satellite TV or an Xbox, I started a blog called Nothing Fazes a Ghost, where I posted weekly chapters. Those 10,000 views with ad revenue earned enough for a pizza. After a few years and a few drafts, it became my debut novel, Eidolons (coming Dec. 2016).
I love writing. However, it’s not a full career (yet). I also teach English to adorable Korean kids who taught me Princess poses.
This website will detail my journey to publish my first novel, my adventures in beautiful Yeosu, and even share my theories on good writing. Thanks for stopping by.
P.S. For the curious, the website’s name comes from the quoted Salinger’s “Teddy” and a joke image I made on GIMP of an orange pealing out.