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Why. What Happened.

This is a repost from a thread I posted on twitter in March. I thought it was a fitting way to close out this year.

One reason i kept my past as an actor secret for so long was because i didn't want an astersk next to my name when it came to writing. /1

I don't have anything against actors who leverage their notoriety into book deals or whatever but, frankly, my notoriety wasn't so big /2

and, regardless of the quality of those offerings, there is always, in my mind, the hurdle of proving that book or whatever wasn't made /3

by a team including a ghost writer or helping hands that allowed them to bypass the slush pile. I don't begrudge anyone using whatever /4

they can to get where they want to go in the arts. it's a tough business, a tough life and I understand people wanting to bypass hurdles. /5

but that's not me. i burned down my acting career because i didn't like being an actor. i like acting. very much. but i don't like any /6

of the social aspects, the meat market vibe of every little moment of your life outside your house. the inability to trust friends&lovers /7

i didn't like it. I'm not wired for it. many are and i'm glad of that because many actors are lovely people who do amazing work for all /8

of us. that's not me. the chance to perform just isn't worth all the rest of it. But... writing? I'm definitely wired for that. /9

The first story i ever wrote was a a fantasy story, a LoTR knockoff, at the age of 9 or 10. I have it around here somewhere. /10

The second was a scifi story set in VR. The third was the beginning of a novel, never finished, a combo of Waterworld and Star Wars. /11

peppered throughout, there were scads of home-made comics, strips and books, always, always, genre. Always, ALWAYS writing. I wrote /12

and wrote and wrote and wrote. Before acting. During acting. Literally on sets when acting for money, writing during every break. /13

i don't believe in any version of spiritual mumbo jumbo but, if a person can be said to be having and ignoring a "calling," that person /14

was me. Finally, i had enough and I quit. I quit my acting life, firing my agents in the process. I quit my acting social life, "firing" /15

nearly all of my so-called friends, leaving me essentially alone except for the woman who'd eventually become my wife. Life was shitty /16

for a couple years after that. rock bottom shitty. the only thing that would have made it worse was if i'd been stupid enough to drink /17

or do drugs. i don't do those things. never have. never will. they make people stupid and sloppy. they waste time. we don't have a lot /18

of that to begin with. i spent several years in shit. we did. climbing out of, being pushed into it, struggling. no one helped. no one /19

put out a hand. Well. A couple people did. Eventually. But none of it amounted to life change. What DID was when my girlfriend suggested /20

maybe trying prose writing instead of- well- every other thing that i'd been trying and failing at since burning down the other career. /21

short story version: she was right. I started submitting work to magazines, anthologies, contests and, inside 18 months I sold /22

THE SOFT ROOM to the 6th Strange New Worlds Star Trek anthology and my novella, RED/SHIFT was a finalist in WRITERS OF THE FUTURE. /23

This was life changing. Not in a financial way (you'd have to sell an awful lot of short stories to make a living. this ain't the 1950s) /24

but LIFE-wise. PATH-wise, this was my Singularity. Life was one way, prior to that year and impossibly, unpredictably another after. /25

This was the first time people, EDITORS, bought something of mine. No meeting. No handshakes. No special connections. No possibility /26

of rejection due to my skin color, my age or lack thereof. They didn't know me from Adam. All they had to judge was my WORDS, the yarns /27

I'd written. And, in both these cases, that had been enough. Whatever "celebrity" I carried from my old career was never in play, good /28

or bad. As an actor, every aspect of life, of success, depends on someone else thinking you're sexy, hot, desirable. Those things are /29

amorphous. they are subject to the whims and vagaries of whatever caprice is in fashion at the moment. Words are words. once set down /30

they are what they are. You take them or you leave them.I can trust that. I can stand on that. I do stand on that. I have always admired /31

storytellers. Griots. Shaman. Writers. My life's been fairly bumpy and the thing that always gave me stability was good stories told by /32

great storytellers. To me there is nothing higher, nothing nobler and nothing more human than the telling of tales. Stories are how we /33

interact with the universe, how we do mathematics (every formula and equation is a story), how we teach and learn. even when we're alone /34

we tell stories to ourselves. we're made of them. and there's nothing, nothing, i value more except my wife. So, if I was going to make /35

a life among the people who tell the stories, who make the best versions of that thing that makes us most truly human, there was no way /36

i was doing it with even the possibility, even the hint or whisper that somehow I'd cheated my way in. That meant all hint of the old /37

career had to go. So, for nearly a decade, until some friends on a show I was working on forced me to out myself (all in good fun), I /38

I was a writer and only a writer. By the time I came clean, it was too late for the asterisk to attach. Anyone who cares about that old /39

life is welcome to it. I worked hard at acting and i did my best to be good at it. If you felt my efforts were successful, I'm happy. /40

for that. Truly. But, for me? I put a bullet in that old life's forehead. I shot it twie more to be safe. Then I cut it to bits and /41

i buried those bits in places no one but me will ever know. There's nothing more dead to me than that life. I'm a writer. No asterisk. /end

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