I am the Writer
I am the WalrusJohn Lennon
John Lennon penned this iconic song, in part, as a response to all the time and energy people were spending trying to decipher meaning from the Beatles music1https://americansongwriter.com/i-am-the-walrus-the-beatles-meaning/. So I thought that would be a humorous, and hopefully catchy, title and lead image. For, “I am the writer and the writer is me.”
A brief history
For the past 45 years, I have dabbled in writing, acting in local community theater, drawing/painting, music. Some of these activities were fun just long enough for me to realize I wasn’t good at them. For instance, my drawing skill has degenerated to stick figures and very flat representation. I’ll confine my singing to the shower, but only when no one is around.
The two things that have stayed the passage of time are writing and acting. Both first appeared around the time I was in middle and high school. That these two things have stayed doesn’t really surprise me, because, for me, they are about telling stories.
There are a couple of ways Impostor Syndrome shows up:
- Pretending to be more than we are.
- Pretending to be less than we are.
For me, at this point in my writing, I am definitely in the former category. A quick read of articles on this blog will show that I have given an abundance of advice on writing. I tried to write in a style that suggested I was pulling from my years of experience. Good advice culled not only from my experience as a writer and an actor but also from reading other writers and how they do things.
Does that make me an impostor? Not in any really significant sense. But I need to refocus on my style and not try to imitate others too much.
Finding my style
Style is more than just what kinds of stories I like to tell or what voice I prefer to use. It encompasses more than how much or how little description I use.
Style is the broader picture. It is the combination of all the facets of good storytelling.
As an actor, I’ve done farcical comedy, thriller, dramatic comedy (yes, that is a thing). As a reader, until recently I stayed close to mystery and fantasy stories. They are what I grew up on. I’ve branched out to explore romcom, slice of life, memoir, science fiction, humor and others.
In all of this, I’ve found my style shifting, changing, becoming clearer. And I’ve also found out that most genres will allow for elements outside of the stereotypes and tropes.
I never really thought of myself in this way. Years ago, I acted in a writer’s showcase and was cast to perform a comic monologue written by a friend of mine. There was a section that needed some work. I asked myself what I could do to make it better. What would Robin Williams do?
At the next rehearsal, I informed the writer/director that I had an idea and he gave me permission to try it. “If it works, we’ll keep it.” I launched into the monologue and reached the crucial moment, replacing his rather bland lines with an improvisational dialogue between pieces of Pillsbury biscuit dough being thrown onto a baking sheet. The improv went well. Everyone in the rehearsal hall was rolling in the aisles. We kept the change.
My wife frequently told me and others before we were married that she had to decide if she could live with Robin Williams for the rest of her life. (With all due respect to Robin Williams, I’m not quite that funny, but I have my moments.)
I am the Writer
The biggest revelation for me over the past year has been that I am the Writer. My responsibility is to tell the best stories I can, to find humor in everything, to entertain, and to present a view of the world. It is to bring my brand of humor and spirituality and wonder, regardless of the genres of my stories or the topics of things like blog posts, tweets, and departmental memos.