June 15, 2007
Originally published December 20, 2004
I think I wrote my first short story when I was six years old. That story needed serious editing, and something other than crayon to really get my point across, but looking back now, I realize that it wasn't bad for a six year-old boy.
I've been writing ever since, and I DON'T KNOW WHY.
Words just bubble up in me. They always have. If I try to explain the way I think to other people, even those who KNOW me well, they just shake their heads and say, "You've ALWAYS been weird." Am I? Really?
When Catfish and I were riding around lost in north Georgia, I started looking at all the farmhouses and abandoned outbuildings on those rolling fields, and I thought of DOZENS of stories that I could tell about them. When I mentioned that fact to him, Cat replied, "I'd rather you found a road back to Savannah. You can write later."
No, I CAN'T "write later."
That shit goes on in my mind all the time whether I put it on paper or not. One of the biggest disappointments in my life was when I wrote a humor column for the Effingham County Herald, which was so popular that it then was published in three sister newspapers all over southeast Georgia. I was proud of accomplishing that feat, but my BC ex-wife never read ANYTHING I wrote. She didn't care whether I was any good or not. The entire activity seemed ridiculous to her. I wasn't becoming rich and powerful from doing it, so what good was it? That's the way she STILL looks at life. I don't.
I was fired from that job for being politically incorrect (can you imagine THAT?) and the publisher fired the EDITOR, too. Jennifer told me that I got what I deserved. "Rob, you should write what people want to read, not what you want to write."
I pondered that statement for a long time. WTF kind of advice is THAT? I never know WHAT I want to write until it comes out on the page. If I had a dollar for everything I've written that NEVER saw another set of eyes, I would be a rich man today. If you don't write, you'll never understand what I mean.
I write for one reason and one reason only: I WANT to.
All content © Rob Smith