J.R.R. Tolkien was one of my first Fantasy favorites growing up. Much like many of us who adore fantasy, I suspect. I read "The Hobbit" early in my years (perhaps when I was 10 years old), and later devoured the trilogy of the Lord of the Rings. In each of these stories, there were witticisms, and poems I set myself to memorizing. I'd already memorized Poe's "The Raven" and "Annabel Lee", and Lord Alfred Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade." I enjoyed the way the words were put together, and the way they rolled off my tongue when they were recited. I also worked on composing my own lines of poetry, which were well received by my Literature and English teachers.
In my childhood, I had always wanted to be a writer, and teachers encouraged me along this route. But my mother told me, "Writer's don't eat", and the whole undertaking of becoming a writer was discouraged by a large number of my family and friends. I'm sad to say I listened to them. And I'm also pleased to say I listened them. I'm grateful I heeded their words. If I'd taken the road of writing right away, I doubt I would have experienced such a fulfilling and interesting life as I have. The life dilemmas and crises, the situations I've found myself in, the people I've met around the globe...all of these will add to my writing content in the future. I just hope I have paid enough attention in my own daily living to add richness of character and depth of personality to the people who I place in my story lines. We will see.
This week, I begin a new journey. I start a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) program in Popular Fiction with Seton Hill University (SHU). My main genre focus is Horror, and Urban Fantasy, and perhaps with the help of SHU's esteemed professors, I will finally finish "Dr Stench", and also complete another new novel titled "Sapien Farm".
I flew to Pittsburgh just yesterday (I got to fly First Class! A fluke.), and landed just outside the city around 6:30PM (18:30 for you military types). From there, I rented a car, and drove to Greensburg Pennsylvania. The sun was nearly down by the time I arrived, and I met up with Officer Farris (a rather tall, Italian dude) who spoke English with a bit of a German accent. I found out later he was from Genoa, Italy...quite proud of his northern heritage. Officer Farris and a Grad Student (Desmond)...Business Masters....assisted me with finding my room and getting me settled in.
As I walked into the room (on the second floor), it reminded me of my early enlisted days at the barracks in San Diego. Sparse decor. Cinderblock walls. One small twin bed. A chest of drawers. A flimsy desk and black plastic chair. Bare bones, so to say. There are 4 small separate rooms like this one clustered together in a corner of this level, with a tiny central toilet space, and a separate shower space, for everyone to share. When the rooms fill up this week, I'm sure it will get interesting.
I had decided to show up early to SHU, a day or so before the classes began. I didn't want the confusion of trying to get settled and started with the program without understanding the lay of the land and getting my writing assignments in order, and I'm glad I'm here a little early. I'll do my read and critiques, read a book, and perhaps even write some.
This blog entry is the first of my entries for my MFA program at Seton Hill. It is my journal of progress along the road of pen and sword. It is (for me) the daring step towards achieving a long wished-for dream. As Tolkien said,
"...Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say."
I've got my feet planted shakily on the old bricks of yellow,
but I'm not going to Oz to find my way home.
I'm traveling to Oz because I want to BE the Wizard,
and I'm willing to storm the Emerald City and pay the price. :)