Ever since I was a little boy I have always loved writing. Handwriting. It didn't look exceptional by any means but I have to admit, whenever people saw my handwriting they confused it for a girls handwriting. It was always small and neat. I wrote very slowly because it would take me forever to convey a thought that I wanted other people to understand. I wrote about random stories. For example, when I was 8 years old I wrote a story about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles living under the street in my neighbourhood. Picture this, an 8 year old Livé going up to a sewer manhole trying to lift the cover with his little 8 year old fingers. I used other things like sticks, but I could never get the holes up. I remember calling out to Leonardo through the hole to help me lift the cover... Yup. True story. If I was able to open up any manhole I definitely would have come home smelling like a walking, talking outhouse. I always had a wild imagination, most likely from a combination of things like being an only child or reading comic books.
Reading and writing were fun expressive outlets for me. I actually didn't learn to read until I was 8 years old. My teacher tried convincing my mother that I had a learning disability and that I should be seen by a doctor for medication. She said she had many experiences with kids like me. She blamed their inability to learn from her on their brain function. My mother thought it was rubbish and had me enrolled in a special education program using flash cards with pictures and words. Within a matter of months I was given college level literature and read it with flawless nuance. I had a great teacher that believed in me and engaged me in a way that I had never been engaged before. Wanna know my motivation to learn how to read?
You see, I had all these comics that my parents had gotten me that were just stacked in my room. I loved looking at the pictures but I was dying to know what the words said! And once I learned how to read, the worlds of the X-Men, Spider-Man, Superman, Hulk– they set my mind ablaze!
Like my writing, reading was a slow process. Well, not necessarily slow but I read at talking pace. One of my favourite places to read was outdoors under the rain while inside a cardboard box. Weird right? Naturally, I began to create my own worlds so I started writing. I would have random pages of paper and notebooks full of half-written stories strewn about under my bed and in my closet. I remember the first time I used a computer to type a story it was on an old beige Macintosh computer. As I was typing the screen was black and the font was green. I had to use two fingers and save my story on a floppy disk. Remember those? What made it even more excruciating was typing out a story I had already written– UGH!
I kept writing into my teens. I had decided that I didn't want to type out stories anymore even though I had grown adept at touch typing. I had branched my writing from science-fiction/fantasy to non fiction stories from my life. Especially after discovering how weird I was from my peers in high school. By the time I was 19 years old I had 6 massive notebooks that I kept of personal stories (you can call it a journal if you want). When I was 18, I discovered for myself that Jesus, God, everything about Him in the Bible was real and that I wanted to grow in understanding and cultivate a loving relationship with Him. That's when my writing kicked into high gear because things were happening in them that I could hardly believe! I wanted to ensure that I would never forget the details of these radical moments. Because a part of me knew that to try and remember these events would be so surreal that my brain would refuse it as fact. I knew this about myself. That I had a compulsion to write down as many accurate facts as possible as they happened to remove the chances for embellishment. I always felt that tainted a story, even at a young age. Looking back, I could say that it was a code of integrity I wanted to keep.
During a missions trip around Australia I lost one of my most treasured notebooks in transit. It was devastating. It had some of my most transformational events in detail. Perspective changes, life decisions, the reality of God invading my life, conversations and encounters with random people, funny cultural circumstances I found myself in– all lost! You'd think I could remember everything that was so touching and awesome but not even a third of it remains in my long term memory. This was a blow that deflated my motivation for writing for years!
I like typing now. I type a lot faster than I can write. I've typed out stories and events to share with friends and family. Articles and messages aimed at strangers who are looking for more than their life has to offer them. I've been doing a lot of digital communication through my wife's Macbook Pro and my iPad. But, you know what? I can't bear it anymore– I miss and love writing! Old school writing. Because sometimes when people use writing today, they mean typing. I don't miss writing a journal but I do miss good old, sci-fi/fantasy story telling! Reading and writing have impacted my life in a major way. It taps into a nexus of imagination that's waiting to be told and shared with people. I want my son to have a chance at folding a page in a book that he will return to under the rain, in a box. I want to walk into his room late at night when it's way past his bedtime and discover him reading a book under his blankets with a flashlight. And read his stories and be fascinated by his wild imagination. Because I know he's going to have a crazy imagination. It's going to be beautiful and outrageous. I want him to totally get this stuff! But he will need to get saturated in it. So I need this back in my life. I need a book that has pages I can flip through and not swipe. I need a pen filled with ink creating words on dead trees. And my son needs to see that.
Thanks for reading!