While an imaginary friend is the customary companion in early childhood, I found it much more interesting to duel an imaginary enemy. I have nothing against skipping stones with an illusory buddy , but if thwarting repeated attempts at galactic subjugation is your goal, you need a nemesis.
Geebo (as he was addressed by his robotic henchmen) authored schemes of unspeakable chaos and cunning, but like the Washington Generals, my adversary existed only to be defeated. I meanwhile gained personal insight from our battles: I learned I love inventing stories.
I won my first young author’s contest as a first-grader for the nautical thriller “Mystery at Sea,” replete with monsters, mischief and the eponymous mystery. And even though it was written and capriciously illustrated by a 7-year-old, the book earned my family a trip to Springfield, Ill., and the honor of rubbing the bronze nose on Abe Lincoln’s bust.
I suffered, however, from a writer’s worst curse: A happy childhood. Convinced that I lacked the requisite trauma befitting a writer – with blame placed squarely on my married parents, small town upbringing, thoughtful education and corporeal friends – I decided to study biology, disregarding important signals such as ACT scores and guidance counseling.
Once in college, my scientific career lasted all of two weeks before I found my purpose and gave writing and literature my full focus. I cut my teeth in journalism, and for the last 15 years I have been a full time editor, writer and public relations professional in the nonprofit sector.
I’ve mustered some personal, and considerably more important, accomplishments along the way. I am a husband and father with a daughter and son who joined our family through intercountry adoption. The time my wife and I spent in their respective South American and African birth countries provides the lens through which I now interpret the world. Thanks to them, I perceive the wonder in the seemingly mundane.
I have also learned that storytelling holds universal value and can take many forms. From novels to poetry. From journalism to corporate communications. From biography to the bedtime stories you tell your kids. So, I take regular advice from my inner child. I mine ideas from our hidden places. I keep one eye open for imaginary enemies, and I look for the unlikely story yet to be told.