It was suggested that I look sweet and approachable on buymecoffee.com. This is the last known picture of me looking sweet and approachable.
It was suggested that if I was going to ask my audience for money that I should look "sweet" and "approachable" and "try smiling" and "at least show your eyes, damn it."
Below is the last known photograph of my looking sweet, approachable, smiling, and showing my eyes, damn it.
If my mother is to be believed, (and she is not a good authority) I'm six or seven in that photo. I'm pretty sure I had my front teeth by first grade, and I'm five or six in this photo (I am also not a good authority).
Either way that little toothless bastard was already writing stories.
I'd gotten a hand-me-down typewriter for my sixth birthday, the soundtrack to The Little Mermaid for Christmas, and a giant stack of paper that had been used to print receipts that probably ought to have been shredded from... I dunno, maybe a car mechanic.
I wrote my first novel (it was a 16 page masterpiece of plagiarism and very broad summary) to the soundtrack of The Lion King when I was ten. When I gave it to a teacher to read, she told me not to quit my day-job; I got detention for calling her a bitch, which she clearly was.
My point isn't that I'm some kind of wunderkind; I wouldn't actually publish anything until I was pushing 30 and I still don't live off my writing.
My point is that I have yet to meet any author who doesn't have that exact same story. Maybe some of us wrote in the unused back pages of old school notebooks or in special journals. Maybe some of us had those fancy apple computers that had just been invented. Every story that's ever been written down has a kid like that behind it; someone who sat down with the words in their head and went through the agony of bringing them to imperfect life.
I don't think art is suffering, but it does require hard work, mental energy, and a whole lot of time.
I love daydreaming on the page. So if you enjoy reading my daydreams, think about that little kid up there. Think about all the years of self-doubt, struggle, and grief that kid went through to Not quit the daydream.
Buy that brat a cup of coffee.