I started out as an actor.
Yeah, one of those guys; working in New York City, bussing tables and going to auditions. A real A-type.
I studied acting in college, had some good instruction from some great teachers and moved to NYC. I auditioned into the Terry Schreiber Studio and spent some time there.
But NYC, as you probably know, is a hard place. I was a green kid from Ohio -still am- and the city ate me alive. I was evicted from an apartment, squatted a place or two, slept on a pile of clothes as a bed, etc. I was worn down and done with it in a short period of time.
I moved to London after that. Another hard city, but I landed on my feet. I kept on acting. I performed increasingly abstract pieces at the ICA, the Buxton Fringe Festival and the Shunt Vaults. And I started writing as well.
To be perfectly clear; although I was acting during my late teens to mid 20s, I was always writing. I can't really remember a time when I wasn't. I wrote Sci-Fi stories and comic book story lines as a kid, short stories as a teenager, even tried my hand at a terrible novel in my early 20s; but I started seriously when I moved to London.
I was interested in writing plays during the first part of my time in London.These were language heavy pieces that relied greatly on line breaks and rhythm. One play I wrote, if I remember correctly, was almost entirely done in dactylic hexameter. I don't know what drove me to do that. Insanity maybe.
During my third year in London I lost interest in theater. In turn I gave up on plays as well. I started writing bad short stories instead, and tried another scatter-brained novel (a story about a guy with synesthesia). But writing in this way stuck. And over time, I got better. I published a few things under a pseudonym and found my groove.
There was a time when getting involved with a literary magazine seemed like the last thing I would do. Or wanted to do. Most editors have an "in", right? It's all very incestuous -isn't that true?
Yes. In many instances it is. But luckily I found some regular people, working within the writing industry, in Amsterdam.
I grabbed on to the Words In Here community tight. When there was a new event, I was there. I introduced myself to everyone, tried my hardest to keep things professional and not have too many beers from the bar, and eventually, I found myself at the editors table. It wasn't work exactly, it was persistance.
I'm not a graduate from Yale. I don't have literary blood coursing through my veins. And I guess this is why I decided to share this history. It's common. Nothing really special.