Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Write About What You Know.

I have been writing since I was fourteen. Grew up with a reading disability. Hated books. Did all I could to never read. In seventh grade when our teacher assigned S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, everything changed.

I not only became an avid reader from that point on, but since have worked hard at writing. Born a storyteller, it only made sense that I work to get my ideas down on paper. My first writing instrument was a Sears electric typewriter. Uh-huh. I remember saving money up to buy it, and cringing everytime the ribbon (with corrective white tape) ran out.

I spent hours in my room pounding out stories.

My first real short story, I Made It, was published when I was a freshman in the Cardinal Mooney annual literary magazine. (I have copies stored away). You write about what you know. My parents never had much money. They worked hard. Just never seemed to catch up. I really wanted to go to Cardinal Mooney High School. I got a job at the end of eighth grade, and worked all summer to pay the tuition. My job was as a busboy at a party house. The Diplomat.

Well. I was hired as a busboy. But what happened was, new hires had to "earn" the right to bus tables. I worked weekend mornings. Cleaned up after parties the nights before. Vacuuming, setting tables, cleaning bathrooms, sweeping and mopping floors. Soon, I worked nights, too. Washing dishes, scrubbing pots and pans. And eventually, I worked parties.

My first day of work was a Saturday. Like any business, communication was terrible. When hired I was told I needed to wear black dress pants, black shoes, a black vest and a black bow-tie, as well as a white dress shirt. Standard busboy attire, right?

So, Saturday morning I showed up to work all decked out in new duds. The "head" busboy, Gary, looked at me, shook his head, and said, "Lose the tie." I spent the next seven hours breaking my back cleaning party rooms--wondering how everyone else there knew to wear jeans and T-shirts.

And this ... this true-story became my first published piece. It told the tale of how I went from showing up to work ill-dressed, to getting the call one night to come in (on a day off) and to bring my bus-clothes.

I'd made it.

Key point of the blog, write about what you know. Remember, fiction still needs to be factual!


Thomas Phillips,
Author of The Molech Prophecy

1 comment:

Robin Shope said...

Inspiring and now I know a little bit more about you.