I figured that before I continue leading people through this the path of my brain, I should introduce myself.
My name is Dameyon and everything I do is centered around writing stories.
When I was a wee Dameyon back in the gradeschool days, where fuckheads and asslicks alike cared more to mock the Dameyon than ever to have listened to him or the almighty importance of his words (you can smell the entertainment factor being thrown at you at seven in the morning, can't you not?), I told stories through finger pants, mispelled words, and oddshaped dinosaurs. They often had E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial from the movie of the same name, over for dinner. It was good times. I found it hard, even at five years old, to drag myself out of bed to go learn stuff I didn't care two licks about, and miss what I had deemed of the utmost importance: stories. How dare school get in the way of me learning more about the fictional world of the Autobots and Decepticons? Or the importance of the War on Terror as told twenty-something years ago through the cartoon battles of G.I. Joe and Cobra? Funny that that little cartoon had a more concrete understanding of a term not to be coined for another twenty years, no? G.I. Joe, the unit, was constantly engaged in actual warfare around the world with VISIBLE terrorists in Cobra. If that's not a literal War on Terror, then maybe you should put something really clever here instead!
As I grew older, I started reading comic books and such but not much in the ways of anything prose fiction. I watched a lot of cartoons, watched a lot of movies (with Aliens, Jaws, Predator, and Friday the 13th being the top ones), and I read a lot of comic books and found myself completely absorbed in the fictions that I was being sold. I loved them, and unlike a lot of other people who talk about escapism and all that shit when they discuss they're youths, I didn't. I wasn't escaping anything, 'cause reality, in all of it's punch you in the face for whatever reason harshness, was right out the front door and I had plenty of outside time as a kid. I wasn't escaping FROM reality, but learning about fictional realities. I was the oddball that wondered what the history and culture and other random real world attributes could and would be applied to a universe where giant robots transformed into whatever vehicle was cool at the time. And I still do that kinda shit.
But, going back, as I grew older I started to tell more and more stories, but I wasn't writing them. Not in the most technical or literal sense of the word at all, but I was telling stories to myself through my action figures. I played with my Joes religiously, and they weren't the Joes that I bought them as any longer. At first, they were epic martial arts battles between a lot of hokey looking characters. I grew up on a lot of shit, and one of those turds was martial arts movies. Ninja movies, Bruce Lee movies, all that kinda stuff, so that got sucked into the stories I used to tell myself. The more and more I read comics the more it diverted to superhero stories... with brutal ninjas in them somewhere. It wasn't until my fourteenth year that I decided that I ultimately wanted to write for the rest of my life and I wanted to make it my ultimate career goal. One I'm still trying to work on, but I don't know if it's ever going to come to fruition.
At fourteen I started writing in the most literal sense of the word. Putting words to paper and forming something that made sense -- to me, at least. I wrote a retarded "crossover" story that used my favorite characters from every comic I had ever read. I wrote some poems and short pieces of fiction that weren't ever really liked by the teachers that I had to write them for. That's when I learned, to be honest, that school didn't teach me what I needed to know about the thing I loved the most. Every class I took on writing, creative writing and English alike, didn't teach me what I NEEDED. I stopped participating at that moment, and looked to different teachers to find my way into the literary world.
My first teacher was/is a man named Clive Barker. Yes, I had read books before I found his literary works. Books by Michael Crichton, a few by Stephen King, and some other stuff here and there -- never the classics, though I'm supposed to have by now, right? -- but it wasn't until sometime in 1996 or 1997 that I discovered that Clive Barker was an author as well as a filmmaker. Which is a lot of years late to be discovering this, to be honest. Clive Barker hit the literary scene in the 1980s, and here I am almost twenty years later finding his books. I can't recall how I found out he was an author, but I think it had something to do with The Lord of Illusions, a film he made based on a short story of his called The Last Illusion. The first book I read from Barker was fittingly enough a collection of the first three books he had written. A collection of short stories called The Books of Blood, which when originally printed were done in three (then six more were added) separate volumes. I had the first three volumes collected in one book, and I sat on a plane and devoured all of them. Clive taught me the passion and the humor of my selected "genre" and taught me how to pace things at an appropriate level, and to not be afraid of what others may or may not think of what you write. Though that's a problem I'm still having to this day. As a side note to my first teacher that saddens me, I still haven't read everything Barker has written. There's a small collection of his novels sitting on my shelf that remain unread to this day.
My second teacher (or teachers rather) came through comics. It was shortly after the Books of Blood -- when I literally started reading and paying attention to what I was reading on a whole new level -- that I started to pay attention to specific writers in the comic book field. Alan Moore, Frank Miller, and a bunch of others really made an impression on me very similarly to the impression Barker had left. But instead of teaching me how to write, these authors challenged me to write. Being unable to draw at all, they challenged me to take the visual things I was seeing in my head, and put them to words. And while it's an idea that I'm still wrestling with to this day, I'm much more comfortable with it now than I have ever been.
My third (and possibly final) teacher is Richard Matheson. Author of I AM LEGEND, WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, and many, many other stories that I've adored since reading them. I read a lot from a whole great deal of authors and I learn something from each and every one of them, but Matheson (along with Barker, and a pretty long list of comic book writers) are the ones that taught me the craft as opposed to having had learned anything from English teachers, or creative writing teachers along the way.
Why am I this way? I don't really know how to answer that question. Writing (along with reading) brings you closer to yourself more than any other act, I'm convinvced. You're alone, for one, and it's pure thought being transmitted to paper, or vice versa. When you're writing, all of yourself comes out in your work, whether you want it to or not. When you're reading, the authors play with your mind through words. They describe things so that you visualise them in your head. They present situations that challenge you to the very core of your being (or your beliefs) if it's good material, or they entertain you in ways you couldn't imagine yourself. And it's all across the board through every medium, be it poetry, prose, comic stories, film, video games or whatever else is out there. And, even though I have my negative thoughts about film and the like, I enjoy all of them because of those reasons, and possibly a great deal more that I am forgetting. Me, being who I am -- I like to say that I'm still eight years old -- I can go into almost anything new with a childlike wonder and be excited about the new stories, or the possibilities within those stories, the same way a child is seeing the same cartoon over and over and over again. It's only when I let the adult out of the bag sitting in the back of my brain that I analyze what I've seen as a writer and formulate an opinion based on the story telling techniques the creators have used.
And on those days when the writing doesn't work or when I avoid it by doing everything but writing... there's always a part of me that just wants to go back to telling myself stories by playing with action figures.