Hi, I’m Andrew

I’ve always had a desire to write and to be creative.  I wrote my first play in third grade and showed it to some friends.  They liked it and laughed at the jokes I put in.  It was almost three pages long.  Sadly, I’ve lost the manuscript.

In my teens I developed a taste for science fiction movies and started to read science fiction books.  Then I discovered magazines like, Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Analog.  If you would have asked me back then what I liked to read, I likely would have given you a long, well rehearsed lecture on “speculative fiction” and how that differed from science fiction.  That is in part due to my taste for post apocalyptic books like Earth Abides, Alas Babylon, and On The Beach.

Over time I developed the urge to write and had the desire to become a science fiction writer.  It was more than just a bit of a dream, as I actually sat down and started to write a book.   Most of the adults who I showed it to were encouraging, but I was young and lacked the persistence to complete the work.

Later, after I started work as an electronic technician in the fledgling personal computer manufacturing business, I tried my hand again, writing a few stories.  Knowing that I didn’t really know much about how to write a good story, I did attend a few writing classes and attended science fiction conventions where I’d seek out the writing sessions.  I learned a lot and had the courage to send a few of my short stories and a poem to a few magazines.  All of which were, quite rightly, immediately rejected.  Since that experience I proudly tell everyone that I’ve been rejected by the best magazines in the world.

Then life happened and in my rush to develop a career, earn lots of money, a car, a house and all the “things” my young mind thought were important, I suppressed my desire to write.  I did take the odd class in writing from time to time and did write a story or two.  There was a fairytale I wrote for my mother’s birthday, a short story about the world falling apart, and one with the title, Turpentine.

That was a strange experience.  I had been at the grocery store and smelled the faint odor of turpentine as I got into my car. The word beat in my mind. When I got home, I sat in front of the keyboard and in the early hours of the morning finished a “boy meets girl” story set in an alternate reality.

I showed the story to my friends and they liked it.  It was a year or so after I wrote that story that I started dating a woman who was much like the girl I’d written about.  It was that realization that drove me to do the only really brave thing I’ve ever done, I asked her to marry me.  She’ll be the one editing this post before you read it.

There was another thing in my life that I had always wanted to do and that was to get a bachelor’s degree in English.  I didn’t have the money, or family support to go to the university in my youth, so as I approached middle age I was determined to find a way.  There were years of night classes at the local community college and years of saving money.  Then there was a very supportive wife and at 45 years-old, I took two years off work, and attended San Jose State University, where I earned that BA in English.

At SJSU I spent most of my time studying literary criticism.  I read the classics of English literature and wrote paper after paper analyzing them.  It was there that I finally admitted that I had lost my taste for science fiction and confirmed my desire to write.

In the spring of 2011, I gathered up my nerve and started writing a blog at www.andrewsviewoftheweek.com.  Sadly my first attempts were without much discipline and I didn’t achieve my self-made goals of frequency, or quality.

Then my world forever changed.  Late in the year, the doctor called with the news that short circuited my brain.  I had prostate cancer and needed to be treated.  Between the tears, fears and starting radiation treatments I felt an overwhelming need to write down what was happening to me.  I put those words in my blog.  They just poured out, and kept coming.

It was that experience that drove me to commit to myself that I’d write at least once a week and in the last three years, I’ve been able to maintain that schedule most of the time.

About a year ago I started having trouble writing.  It was becoming difficult to start and hard to complete the pieces I did start.  Then an odd thing happened – I started to write a post and out came a poem.

And then another poem.  Then came the memory of my teachers telling me I had “lyrical quality” to my writing.  I decided to embrace it and now call myself, “A poet and writer.”

When I sat down to write a book about my cancer experience, I decided to do it as a collection of poems.  It was the only way for my mind to approach the subject without freezing up at the keyboard.  I’ve finished that collection and am now working on getting it ready for publication.  I don’t have a publisher for the book and haven’t decided if I’ll self-publish or not.

Writing hasn’t been easy for me.  It has plenty of challenges and there are things I don’t do well.  I am horrible speller.  Seriously, I can’t spell to save my life.  In fact in the sixth grade there was serious talk of holding me back a year so I could improve my spelling. If it wasn’t for spell checkers, Google and my wife, I couldn’t spell.  Then there is handwriting.  I can’t do it.  Hand me a pencil and a piece of paper and even I can’t read what I write.  If it weren’t for typewriters and now computers, no one would be able to read my words.

And commas, what are those about?  My wife claims I don’t breath when I write.  Honestly I do commas by instinct and hope Heather corrects them before I press the publish button on my blog.

And the list goes on.  I am not a perfect writer and I still have plenty to learn.  It’s taken me some time to perfect what skill I have and I am always amazed that I’ve come this far.

That’s what I hope to share here on Today’s Author, what I’ve learned so far and how my writing journey is going.  I am convinced that if you have the desire, you’ll be able to write and grow in your abilities.

I am grateful that the good folks here have decided to let me join in the conversation as one of their writers.

Keep writing,
Andrew

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16 thoughts on “Hi, I’m Andrew

  1. Great bio, Andrew. You’re like me–got serious about writing late in life. I’m fine with that, too. What do you do with computers? I teach K-8 and grad classes. And am the IT geek for our home. Not something I’m happy about.

    • Computers? Long story. Short version: Started out as an electronic tech repairing the hardware, switch to Unix system administration, started working as a software engineering doing build and release engineering and now work as a DevOps engineer. Even shorter version: Remember the last time your computer said, “Update available”? I’m the guy who pressed the button that sent that update to you.

      and at home I tell everyone I am off duty and to go ask the grand kids…

  2. Wow, yeah, life 🙂

    I started writing in college and it was my “thing” for about 4 years. I “took a break” from writing that was another 4 years and coincidentally coincided with law school and the year after that (mostly what I think of as my recovery period 🙂

    I started writing again about a year ago, actually making an effort at least, but it took months to build it up and I’m still not at the levels of productivity I was in college.

    What really helped give me a kick in the pants was doing Nanowrimo in November. The website’s up all year round and they even expanded to what is now called CampNanos, which are in April and July if you want to check it out. It helps to get your butt in the chair and your hands to the keyboard when you have a community. 🙂 I’ve even got a few people from Camp in April beta reading the book I wrote during Nano.

    • yes, life, often gets in the way. 😉

      Writing prompts and things like Nanowrimo are great for helping stay focused. Keep writing.

      • You do Nano? There’s a group of us in the After Nano Months forum to keep us all motivated during the year 🙂

        • I haven’t, but thought about it last November. Then I started writing my poetry book and didn’t have the time to participate. If I don’t get stuck into another book project soon, I’ll likely join in later this year.

  3. Enjoyed reading your bio. Hope to see you published soon.

  4. Andrew, you’re not letting anything get in your way about writing, even though it’s taken its own route. Interesting that your mind wants to write poetry as I’ve always thought poetry is a natural expression. Wishing you continued healing. Can’t wait to read more of your posts here.

    • Thanks – working on my next post now. I’ve always been dedicated to writing prose, but as I age and my brain changes, I seem to be shifting to verse. I’ve just decided to follow along.

  5. Such a warm and personable bio Andrew. Genuinely captures the tone and content of Andrews View Of the Week, which I enjoy so much. Congratulations on your new gig and I anticipate your writings in Today’s Author. All my best.

    • Thanks for stopping by here. I’ve got a couple of posts in the works for this site.

      • I did a Sunday Blog Visit …yes I know it is Wednesday…for one of the assignments for Blogging 101 and I included your site as an example of an excellent blog and how it has led into other avenues. I thought your General Writing Rules were just something beginning and experienced bloggers could really embrace and appreciate.

  6. Nice Bio. I know when you put your mind to it Andrew you will achieve wonders like always. The thing about commas I can relate.

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