Guest DJ: Parents Just Don’t Understand by Barry Wolborsky

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Guest DJ: Parents Just Don’t Understand by Barry Wolborsky
“Put on your best dress, baby/Darlin’ fix your hair up right/Cuz there’s a party, honey/Way down beneath the neon lights.”  As I was thinking of ways to introduce my inaugural guest blog post, Out On The Street by Bruce Springsteen popped into my head.  A) the time is always right for some Bruuuuuce and B) it’s a song about getting together to have a good time. When I found out about guest blogging, I thought it would be a good time and that it would be fun to connect this way, fun being the key word because heaven knows I need more fun in my to-do list. In my FacebookTwitter and blog, I frequently write about the importance of writers connecting with each other, so it’s win-win (and we all need more win-win fun). Let’s put on our best dresses (we don’t judge here) and raise a glass to welcome Barry Wolborsky to the party!
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IMG_0032A native of Brooklyn’s Coney Island, Barry Wolborsky spent close to twenty years working in the tech side of Publishing. Now living in Scranton, Pennsylvania with his wife, Amy, he works part time at the Hoyt Library in Kingston and is finishing up his M.A. in creative writing at Wilkes University.
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At my first Wilkes University Creative Writing residency, I was asked to tell a room full of strangers the moment I felt like a writer.  I told them, “When I got accepted to this program.”

I lied.

Even though I had done some amateurish writing for a comic book website a decade prior and had been accepted to Wilkes, I still didn’t feel like a writer. Writers were the people I used to work with when I worked in Tech Support at Rolling Stone and Real Simple. They were authors and screenwriters. Writers were the cool kids. I was definitely not a writer.

I blame my parents.

No, really.

They had a friend whose nephew was a writer. This was not a good thing. “He’s a writer,” my mother would say with all the bile she could muster. My parents believed the only job was one that involved some measure of security. This did not include anything artistic, including writing, a subject I had always done well in academically.

Example: in fifth grade, I asked my parents how babies were made. They told me to read a book, so I did. To my horror, I found out, in detail, how I was conceived. Undaunted, I decided to turn this information into a book report. It got an A+ and was displayed outside my classroom.  I’m sure my parents were a little embarrassed their son wrote a book report about sex, but I’m certain they were more concerned I might consider writing as a profession.

They needn’t have worried. It never crossed my mind.

In 2011, I moved from New York to Scranton, Pennsylvania to be with my fiancé. A year after leaving my job at Time Inc., I remained “underemployed.” My mother had recently passed on, joining my father, who died two years earlier.  Over lunch my wife asked, “If you could do anything you wanted, what would it be?” I responded, “Tell stories.” Before the weekend was over, I had decided to apply to Wilkes.

To my surprise, I was accepted. I spent the month leading up to the start of my first semester in a panic (sorry, wife!). My first day of class, I thought about getting up and leaving.

I stayed.

A year later, I’ve written a few short stories, finished two intensive semesters, am halfway through my first novel and wrote an article about The Office for Entertainment Weekly. So I know I can write. But do I feel like a writer?

Not yet.

But I’m getting there.

You can contact Barry @barrywolborsky

Funny Face

Barry’s wife says this is his doppelganger 🙂

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