Welcome to “Anthony Writes.”
You can probably guess this is about me and my writing. How on-the-nose, eh?
My writing life began when I was around 9 or 10. Of course it began with reading. Two formative experiences come to mind.
In the 4th grade (it may even have been 3rd grade) I read Where the Red Fern Grows. Until then I had just read comic books and “Fotonovels” for the most part. It wasn’t so much that I enjoyed the reading of the story. Of course I did. But it was there I learned that stories could be powerful and make you weep. Now I imagine the story wouldn’t hold up the way it did to my 9-year-old mind, but it had its effect, and taught me the potential power of writing.
The second was in the 5th grade. We had our daily reader which usually featured a chapter from a longer work or an age-appropriate short story. On this particular day, it was the first chapter of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. At the age of 9 going on 10, the religious imagery wasn’t important. But the story of wondrous land, an evil witch, and a magic older and deeper than the world, with the portent of a long-awaited figure who would make the kingdom right again struck a deep and powerful chord in me. I checked the book out of the library and read it in a day, thoroughly captivated. It would be several more years before I learned that there were an entire series of books. By then I was steeped in Tolkien, Earthsea, Dungeons & Dragons, and a myriad other works.
But reading these stories ignited in me the desire to tell my own stories. I began to create stories with my “Star Wars dolls,” my Micronauts, my Erector sets, my Legos, you name it. And I began to write them down.
I fell in love with writing. Over the years I explored many pathways to tell my stories. For many years I focused on prose, writing scraps and fragments of novels and many short stories. I was most proud of those shorts, and did attempt to send a number in to be published. I got a lot of rejections, a couple encouraging notes, a couple critical ones, and mostly silence.
But I struggled to write decent prose. In the mid-2000’s I explored scriptwriting, which better suited my style and my attention span. I’m not very good at describing the purple mountains or the seedy diner, but my dialogue and personal-interaction writing tends to work well, and it’s what is pointed out as a strength.
I began doing more theatre in the late 2000’s, acting in a few plays and directing several.
Somewhere around 2008-9 I saw August: Osage County, which spoke to me very directly, and gave me the impetus to try my hand at playwriting, where I feel I’ve found my stride. I don’t know why it took me so long. I was busy working and raising a family, and writing was something I did when I could find a spare minute.
But here I am. You can only live right now, and I still love to write. So I’m taking my writing time and trying my best to break through playwriting and screenwriting. I may never make it as a professional, but I’ll be damned if it will be from lack of trying.
I intend this to be a journal of my attempt to make that happen, whether it ever will or not.
And whether or not it ever will, I will still be a writer.
Because I love to write.
Anthony, Thanks for your praise of “The Cow in the Parking Lot.” Here’s a writing opportunity for you: the NY Times is doing an occasional series called “Self-Helped.” It’s asking readers to write about a book that changed their lives. Here’s the example that they’ve already published: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/books/how-one-book-changed-my-relationship-with-money.html
I’d be so grateful if you’d take a stab at this.
Thanks 🙏 I’d be delighted 😁 I’ll let you know by reply.