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.
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.
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?
But I’m getting there.
You can contact Barry @barrywolborsky